Why does Columbus hate my clamshells?

Before I did our ~quarterly haul to the recycling drop-off today, I double-checked the “accepted materials” list online.

I skimmed the list, past cardboard, cans, and saw that “all plastic bottles” made the list, but NO other plastics were on there! I even called the number to ask a real person and that real person was really sure I had to send all my carefully saved non-bottle plastics to the landfill. I don’t know when the policy changed or why… maybe we’d always been doing it wrong?

Seems silly that a #2 plastic bottle is ok, but my #2 plastic raspberry clamshell is verboten. But, I dutifully loaded up my car with paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans:

The contraband got set aside to toss in my garbage can landfill. Hummus and guacamole containers, berry and grape clamshells … all verboten.

Before I could put it in the can, however, I had to make a mad dash across the street with a two-ton garbage can, losing both sandals on the way and nearly losing hope when I beached the can on a curb halfway to my destination.

Let me explain.

Our apartment management provides an obscenely large garbage can and we don’t generate much trash so we only end up take it out every couple of months.

I always forget which day is garbage day because it’s moving target: holidays and the phase of the moon apparently throw things off. Furthermore, our management is crazy about cans on the street on the wrong day, and they’ll actually bill you $20 if you leave your can out an extra day. I know.

So, yes, I’m totally paranoid about getting it wrong, and I put it off probably longer than I should.

To make things worse, when that can gets full, it’s a desperate situation. We recycle everything bulky so it’s packed tight almost entirely with full diapers and bits of rotten vegetables (what’s that? You want to smell our garbage can?).

Anyway, I thought I had missed the garbage collection today because it tends to happen way early in the morning. But around 11am as I was hauling recycling, I heard the truck rumbling down the street. I allowed myself to hope for a brief minute, but then saw the truck passed right by our house and I was sure they’d already been down our street.

A few minutes later, though, they came back and started down the line dumping cans right where our can should have been! Reality set in as I judged their speed and the location of the cans. I could never make it in time. I watched dejectedly as the truck made its way to the end of the street… and turned around and came back down the other side! That was my chance!

Off I dashed, clomping along in my sandals, heaving that can up and over bumps. I lost one shoe in the mud and then another, but I was not going to be deterred. Next Thursday was Thanksgiving so no trash pick up. It was do or die today.

When I got to the curb, it took five tries of pushing and pulling and (I’ll admit) some grunting before I got it over and then I crossed the street at a dead sprint, directly in front of the garbage truck. Flashing a big smile (hey, it can’t hurt!) I lined up the can with the ones that belonged on that side and nonchalantly retreated back to my side of the street to see if they’d take my trash.

Just a minute later, it was all over. I was collecting my empty can and savoring the sweet smell of… scratch that, the can has permastench. Breathe through your mouth, Anne.

I’m sure I gave the driver a laugh as I raced across the street breathless and shoeless with my enormous garbage can. I’ll bet garbage men come home with lots of stories to tell. πŸ˜€


About beanland

Scott is a family practice doctor and Anne is a full-time mother and teacher to three beautiful girls and one boy.
This entry was posted in Life as we know it, Nothing but random. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Why does Columbus hate my clamshells?

  1. Liz says:

    Ugh! I feel your pain. I mean, I used to… The city of Mountain View recycles almost nothing plastic, but Los Altos recycles almost everything. We are thrilled about our move. πŸ˜‰

    What are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?


  2. melissa says:

    wow, that’s impressive you only take out the trash every few months. we took it out every week and often snooped around looking for space in others trash cans! i would totally not recycle if it wasn’t picked up at our door step. i just throw everything in the recycling and I don’t sort it and each week they take it all….I guess somewhere along the way they sort it all out.


  3. lisa (lost pezhead) says:

    opps, that was me….don’t know why it says melissa…


  4. Laura says:

    That’s hilarious! It brings back memories of my childhood. It sounds so familiar…

    We were six school ages kids running down a long lane with our school bus cresting the hill about a mile up the road. We were also helping our mother by taking out 3 wheeled garbage cans and one or two non-wheeled garbage cans on trash day(sadly, growing up, we did not recycle and there were 12 of us altogther).

    It was not uncommon for one of the sad cases (usually the last of us to bust out the door) lugging the non-wheeled trash can down the gravel lane to lose a shoe every down and again in the rush.

    I often wonder, like you, what that looked like from the bus driver’s perspective πŸ˜€


  5. Lonica says:

    Anne, I have to admit that I saw you running around yesterday with trash! :0) That’s what neighbors are for, of course. I was expecting the trash day to be on Fridays now, because of Veteran’s Day, but apparently that’s a federal holiday that the trash men don’t celebrate… go figure…


  6. marfmom says:

    I have never heard of “clamshells” before! Is that a California thing? Are you guys going to be in Columbus next Saturday early afternoon…?


  7. beanland says:

    @marfmom: Might be a CA thing… it’s just what we call those clear, hard plastic fruit/veggie containers. We ARE going to be in Columbus next Saturday afternoon. Wait… are YOU?!?!


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