Dumpster Update

People’s relationship to trash still baffles us here. All of Tracy’s and my trash—and I mean all (there is no recycling that we can find)—still adds up to one plastic grocery bag per day. I don’t know how we’re doing it, but that’s it.

Amount and Timing

And yet other people pull up to the dumpsters regularly with, like, six kitchen-sized bags full of trash. I understand we’re just two people and some trailers have whole families in them, but six kitchen bags? And they’re not saving it up for just once a week, either.

I don’t mean to be bragging or putting myself above other people based on how little trash I create (especially after last week’s post all about buying stuff)—I am genuinely puzzled here.

People are throwing away: a pop-up tent (they couldn’t fit it in the dumpster so it was lying beside one), a sliding wooden door with a mirror on one side (pictured above, propped against the middle dumpster), a five-pound box of Minute Rice, the box for a huge flatscreen TV (how can that even fit in an RV?), loads of construction debris that guys dump after work each day, and on and on.

We’ll find ourselves saying, “Well, looks like Friday afternoon is the day everyone takes their trash to the dumpster.” But then, a few days later, cars are literally lining up so people can unload their trash. “Looks like everyone takes their trash out on Wednesday.” Which is it?

Is there really so, so many people here who produce your standard amount of trash, or is there something inherent in living in an RV that means you produce more than the average person?

And there there’s …

Trash Truck Drivers

Our first couple of weeks here, the trash truck came late on Tuesdays. The driver carefully lined up his truck’s tong-things with the first dumpster and then took his time lifting, adjusting, lifting, tilting, adjusting—until the obscene amount of trash in the bin dropped into the back of his truck slowly and fairly neatly.

This guy sat there while the compactor worked, then backed up and carefully aimed for the next dumpster, repeating his deliberate step-by-step eyeballing to limit the amount of spilled trash. When he missed and trash ended up on the ground (this is inevitable), the guy in the passenger seat would jump out and grab it and throw it into the back.

The whole process took about 10 minutes. It was a slow-motion dance.

Then we got a new driver. I’m guessing they work shifts so that they go home after their route, and this guy is determined to get home fast. Who can blame him.

Unlike the other driver, this one shows up in the morning, so you know he’s been flying through his route before he gets to us. He barrels down the campground driveway and aims the arms of the truck right at the first dumpster with lightning-fast precision. No hemming and hawing, this guy. Lift, tilt, dump, set ‘er down, then swivel and grab the next one.

He doesn’t mess around with anything not in the dumpster, either. Not his domain.

We saw him leave the pop-up frame right where it was, and he lifted the dumpster with the door leaning against it so the door smacked down on the ground, then he set the dumpster down away from the door but partially on a tree stump. Tree stump was probably in the official dumpster spot anyway.

After dumping all three bins in seemingly 30 seconds, this driver tears off through the campground and back down the driveway, out to the road and his next stop. Gotta admire the guy. But stay out of his way.

If these dumpsters weren’t full of even more deadly germs than usual, I would be peering in them to solve some of these mysteries around here. What do people throw away besides five-pound boxes of Minute Rice?

I hope we get on the road before I can find out.

8 thoughts to “Dumpster Update”

  1. I’ve wondered about that also even in my neighborhood. How is it that another family of four can’t fit all their trash in the trash can? Since we compost and recycle, our trash is much much less than it was 15 years ago. My best guess for my neighbors with excess trash is that they get to-go food quite a bit, don’t recycle and don’t break down trash items.

  2. Hilarious! (I hope you’re right about the first guy and shifts, and not that he lost his job for being too slow!)

    1. Oh no, I hadn’t thought of that! The slow guy actually got all the trash, too. We’ve decided to start timing the new guy and giving sports-like commentary. He’s really amazing.

      1. I’d like to hear the commentary for both. It would be a great Youtube video. The first one might be like a British snooker or cricket commentary… v slow and measured, and a little ludicrous (hmm, I’m being parochial, the template could be golf commentary) and the other like NASCAR.