Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trashcans in the street

This is one of those "what would you do" things.

In my neighborhood - in my city in general - it's strongly encouraged by the city that, if you at all CAN, you should take your big roll-cart trashcans away from the curb after trash day is over. Most of us (myself included) put them up behind the house. Because it looks better that way. And because, on windy days, the can is less likely to blow out into the street or blow away.

They are heavy rollcarts, but they can tip over, and in a really stiff wind, I've seen them roll a few feet down the street.

Well, one of my neighbors - a family with at least three able-bodied adults in it - doesn't bother to bring their cans up. Nope, the cans sit there on the curb all week long.

Yes, it's simpler to leave the cans there; you don't have to walk quite as far to put trash in them as I do to my can. But the city asked! And there's a good reason for it!

(I will note that in my parents' town, there is a codicil in the city's papers that says that the city is allowed to levy fines on anyone who leaves their can out after trash day is over, or who puts the can out long in advance of trash day).

Well, today I went home for lunch. It's been very windy here today. And my neighbors' cans (yes, they have two. I think they pay extra for that) were tipped over and one was out in the street. I knew no one was home.

And that was what you might call a WWJD? moment. I looked at the cans and thought, "If I were a really nice person, I'd pick the one out of the street and stand both of them back up." But then I thought: Yeah, but that's just another case of a person who could be responsible (as I said: two adults and one teen, all able bodied, any of them could put the cans up, as opposed to just me, with my bum shoulder and my long schedule, who does), but doesn't. And I'd just be enabling them. And anyway, given the wind? If the cans aren't in the lee of a building they will just tip again.

(And there was no way I was hauling them up beside their garage. Not so much because "I shouldn't put in that much effort" but because "what if I get busted for trespassing when I'm trying to do something nice?")

Finally, I compromised: I figured the cans being flat on their lawn only affected THEM,. but a can being out in the street (not quite in the driving lane but close) was a hazard to others - innocents - so I went and hauled the can up out of the street and laid it on its side on their grass beside the other can.

I will say the one week I put the trash out, left on break, and knew I wouldn't be back to put the can up? I asked a friend to do it for me and she did.

On the one hand, I hate all the little pecked-by-ducks rules that some towns set up. On the other hand: the way our rollcarts work, it's really a good idea to take them up after the trash is collected. And it bugs me when I go to the effort to be responsible but other people don't.

Edited to add: After coming home for lunch I went back to campus to work for a while. When I came back home, someone from next door had taken the trash cans up. I guess they got the "high wind warning" that's been going around here. So at least the cans won't blow around tonight.

1 comment:

Dave E. said...

I think you made the right choice to get the one out of the street.

I don't like cities that are ticky-tack either, but I like that where I live you can have the garbage carts at the curb the day before through the day after normal pickup only. Otherwise they have to be off the curb and mostly out of sight from the road. They'll cut some slack on the out of sight, but the city will ticket for leaving the cart at the curb too long.

For the disabled and the elderly, they can apply to have the garbage picked up by the side or back door at no extra charge.