So this weekend we got a letter from our village explaining that they’ve awarded a 5-year contract to a new company for waste hauling. The new company uses semi-robotic trucks to grab the bins and dump them with a special arm rather than have guys riding on the side of the truck to do it. We get one dark bin for trash, one neon green for recycling.
They say it’ll save a great deal of money, which I don’t doubt for a minute. Funny how not having to pay a bunch of people works in your favor like that. The only mention of this that I’ve found online is an embarrassingly insubstantial article in the newspaper that quotes them saying how people just don’t want to do this job anymore. To which I call BS. Sanitation is an unskilled job lots of people would love to be able to get, so don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, buddy.
Anyway the new automated system comes with a lot of rules. I don’t like this, but I was grudgingly accepting of it. They have special new bins for us, which have to be placed no less than a ridiculous five feet apart. That means we can’t use our own bins anymore, just the company-provided ones, and in the event of damage or theft we’re on the hook for a replacement. But it gets better! The new bins arrived today and they’re FRELLING GINORMOUS. They look like they could handle the waste load from a small pop-up carnival. People are gonna start making jokes about how many clown cars you could fit in each one.
This is a problem.
We don’t use the front door of our garage, that is to say the actual garage door. I’m not certain it works anymore, but it’s certainly not anything we want to tussle with in winter. Yet the bins don’t fit in through the side door of the garage; these things are wide enough, albeit not tall enough, to be refrigerators. Not kidding! I had already despaired of finding room for these things in the garage as it was, but now it turns out that not only will finding room for them be a whole lot harder, it’s completely moot because they can’t fit through the friggin’ door!
We’re not the only ones on the street with this problem. People have been putting these bins in front of their houses because they have no idea what to do with them. It’s an eyesore. And it was an avoidable eyesore.
Unfortunately the insane size of these things is going to radically complicate our upcoming winter. Let’s count the problems!
- Since they can’t go inside, they’re gonna get buried in snow. Also ice.
- Damage from ice/snow falling off the garage and house roofs is a real possibility. Which, again, we’d get charged for.
- In Syracuse we have a thing called snow. Plows go by and great big mounds of the stuff end up on the side of the road. Next to the driveway, the mounds are also built up by our driveway plow guys. It was a difficult task to get trash bins out near the road in winter before, but now they’re gonna stick out further and be highly susceptible to plow damage because they’re so big.
- Oh, and navigating those bins through the driveway is gonna be a blast. Sometimes the passage between our cars is unnavigable because of snow buildup, but we find a way to manage with our current bin. With these: not a chance.
I can’t imagine I’m the only resident pissed off by the change. I was willing to work with this even though I wasn’t happy about it, but now that I’ve seen the bins close-up those dimensions we got in the village notice really take on new life. These bins are each double the size of the full-size trash bin we already have. The only upgrade: they don’t have a busted wheel.
Nobody thought this through. The sad fact is that although heck yeah I’m gonna complain, and I know I won’t be alone in that, we might be locked into this disaster for the next five years anyway because of that asinine contract. I sure hope the village had some kind of escape clause put in, or something that would let them modify the terms later if an epic disaster erupted, because boy howdy is this one. I realize of course any modification or move to smaller bins might put out the hauling company because they shelled out for all these giant bins, but screw those idiots for even thinking this would fly.
There’s a village board meeting Thursday. I think this might be a good time to get more involved in local politics. Maybe remind the mayor his term is up in June, and a winter of dealing with this crap is not gonna make any of us happy.