Back in the day, here in the UK and I’m guessing quite probably in a quite a few other parts of the world, households had a simple metal dustbin. We even made up songs about it here in good old Blighty.
“My old man’s a dustman he wears a dustman’s hat. He wears cor blimey trousers and he lives in a council flat.”
Sang Lonnie Donegan in 1960.
And here’s the proof.
Once upon a time the dustman came to collect your one metal dustbin, which was discretely tucked away in a corner of your garden. He would leave the lid and haul the bin, on his shoulder to the waiting wagon. Then, he would return the empty bin, replace the lid and if you were super lucky… close the gate after himself. And the bins were emptied every week – not fortnightly.
The downside of it was – there were massive landfill sites, scarring the landscape and gulls the size of a small dog feasting on the festering mess. We were rapidly running out of places to dump our garbage and something had to be done.
These days we have a bin for household waste, recycled waste and garden waste.
They come in lovely bright colours, such as blue, green and black. Some of us have small courtyard gardens and have opted to use garden refuse sacks, which have to be bought and a licence obtained in order for the bin men to stop and lob the sacks into the back of their huge wagons.
The remaining two bins in garish colours and proudly displaying the name of our local borough council – lest we forget who the magnificent things belong to, take up about a sixth of our yard. They blend in perfectly and in summer positively hum – but not with the sound of insects.
At this point, after I’ve emptied an entire bottle of concentrated disinfectant into it and it still smells like a mini landfill – because it has been sitting there festering in a heat wave for two weeks, I dump it the passage at the back of our cottages.
The day before bin day we drag the monsters around to the front of the house. I know there are some folk out there who have about a mile to walk from their house to the bottom of the lane, with their wheelie bin… because these super-duper vans can’t come up the lanes these days. We are asked to put the bins out for 6am on the collection day. I have yet to see a van out at that time – but, we live with the fear of being left with the festering mess for another two weeks – that would give us a month’s worth of garbage – very nasty garbage to contend with.
It’s easy to see when the bin men have been… various wheelie bins are scattered all over the pavement. If you’re pushing a pushchair, or driving a scooter enormous fun can be had tackling the obstacle course. Sometimes you actually have to move the bins out-of-the-way.
In order to cut down on the waste material that can now be sent for recycling, packages arrive in huge cardboard boxes filled with about a tree’s worth of brown paper. The pen that you ordered is in perfect condition and the box and paper fill your recycling bin.
I’ve had a run – in with our local council recently over them failing to empty our recycling bin. It was happening all too frequently. We live on the main road that runs through the heart of our village. On bin day the road is a sea of bin wagons and yet on several occasions recently not one of them stopped to empty our bins.
Just what kind of service were we paying for and surely common sense should have told them to stop and sort out the line of seven eagerly waiting to be emptied bins? Er… no.
Anyhow, after a series of rather silly emails that they sent to me and which annoyed the hell out of me, the matter has now been happily rectified.
At my most mad moment I took to Twitter… a la Donald Trump style.
Just who the hell do I think I’m talking to? I asked myself. I’m not one of the most powerful people in the world.
But, it felt so good. I’ll give Trump that.
However my series of garbled and somewhat confusing messages will be out there forever! Not so good.
I growled at the woman in the refuse department when she couldn’t and wouldn’t answer my questions.
” If you don’t stop shouting at me I will end this call.” She told me.
Honey, if you think that is shouting you need to develop thicker skin. I didn’t swear at you, insult you, or use my extensive sarcasm on you. I had to raise my voice because you wouldn’t let me get a word in edgeways!
All is now well in the garbage garden and we’ve kissed and made up. I have the manager of the department on speed dial and I’ve emailed him to ask him to send my apologies to the woman who was on the end of my frustration.
I was going to ring her and then I thought she might just have a nervous breakdown. Best not.
My beautiful garbage bins are now back in the garden and look as wonderful as ever. And, as I’ve taken delivery of a packet of TENS Machines pads this morning… the packaging for it has now filled the recycling bin. Roll on the next fortnight!
How about you?
Do your bins get emptied and do the bins fill your garden? Do they hum to you in summer? It would be interesting to know how other parts of the world tackle their garbage.
I know – I need to get out more.
Thanks for dropping by.