Legends from our own lunchtimes

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bin Etiquette

Wheelie Bins were designed to hold hippopotami I’ve heard it said, or was it that they will hold as much as a hippopotamus, I’m not quite sure?

Well I am reasonably sure actually, as having spent the goodliest part of Friday fitting six cubic metres of Jenna and Steve’s former stuff into a three cubic metre skip, I had plenty of time to contemplate wheelie bins, and their impact on our lives.

I’ve never been one who’s been happy wasting even a cubic centimetre of wheelie space, and given that we pay by the year to have one bin full of stuff removed each week, if the truck arrives to collect it and it isn’t absolutely brim chock a block full, I get a strange sinking feeling somewhere in the depths of my being, to the effect that we are having advantage taken of us. Sadly of late, with the onset of age, recycling and an absence of time at home and visitors in the household, the bin has been trundled to the footpath on more than one occasion, with more than enough room for a family of Hippos.

It’s not at all like the good old days, when if I’d had a pile of debris the size of Jenna and Steve’s, it would have all gone into the bin. Eventually.

Sure it might have taken months to get rid of it all, but rid we would be, and I’d even top up the neighbour’s bins in the process, so they too could feel good about themselves if perchance they’d noticed a teeny gap between lid and top of load.

We’ve had tonnes of bricks removed, twenty at a time to keep down the weight, and we know from personal experience that a monster television will fit exactly sideways into green plastic bin once it’s legs have been removed.

The fridge required a little more enthusiasm, but with the aid of a good axe to dismantle it into bite sized pieces, it was gone in three weeks.

Probably the most challenging object to exit using this technology was the half ton industrial photocopier that ceased functioning within a few minutes of nine of us carrying it up the stairs. We couldn’t give it away, and it was going to cost a small fortune to take it to the dump, not to mention the necessity of finding another nine souls who didn’t realise just how heavy and cumbersome it was.

Thanks to the miracle of the modern battery screw driver, it quite quickly came to pieces week by week, into handy chunks, small enough to carry and fit you know where. Some of the chunks were so small they even filled the spaces between the other refuse, and the screws neatly wedged it all together whenever a crack appeared due to subsiding vegetable peel.

Unfortunately, we lived in exactly the place where the garbage collector began his day.

Our bin was the very first to be lifted and tipped, the contents had the full height of the high sided truck to fall, and not so much as a single potato peel already in place to dampen the sound as each week enough metal to keep China in car production for a year, or a formerly intact a television set or refrigerator, or the entire lower story of a block of flats landed triumphantly on the bare steel floor.

Even more unfortunately for those who considered five am to be a particularly unpleasant time to be woken by a loud resonant clanging and banging, the fully enclosed steel body acted as an amplifying echo chamber too, turning the entire vehicle into a massive drum.

We were often awake at five on garbage collection days, although we spent the time very silently, crouched indoors, hiding in embarrassment and hoping that no one connected all that noise to us.

Perhaps they didn't connect the noise to us at all, perhaps they simply thought it was old Mrs Solomon from across the road taking her hippos for a walk.


Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware how lucky we were to have wheelie bins at all! The method of garbage collection over here is: throw your bags onto the street and hope the garbage man gets it before the foxes do. Tres civilised!

bitingmidge said...

Tonight I put out my bin and thought of you Shirl!

julia said...

I know what you mean about disposal. And by the way, at festival recently, saw a wheelie bin that held certain electonic gear for the stage hand and was complete with a solar panel on its lid!

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