Service of Garbage

August 13th, 2012

Categories: Garbage


Waiting in line at Staples I noticed that for 79 cents a pound, the company will shred your papers [photo above]. I’ve seen trucks that perform this service parked around the city. I hear portable shredders whizzing in the office.

Good use of box as cat perch on retail counter.

Good use of box as cat perch on retail counter.

Out-of-date campaign posters represent costly trash. Two candidates paid–or soon will–hefty fines for their removal–$300,000 to half a million dollars by Bill de Blasio, NYC Public Advocate and NYC Comptroller John Liu, respectively.  Liu’s fine, according to the Environmental Control Board, represented 7,000+ illegal posters from his election campaign three years ago. De Blasio has paid his fine and Liu just learned he can’t slip out of his.

Disrespect of plants in the East 60s.

Disrespect of plants in the East 60s.

Garbage is expensive business and no doubt, because it is garbage, so many people–even politicians–forget it costs money to make it disappear. Maybe that’s why folks are careless with theirs, which, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, drives me nuts. These photos illustrate just some of the instances I’ve seen lately.

I couldn’t resist including the tossed red box-turned lounge in which the cat spends much of his day near the cash register, basking in the center of attention.

There are so many crisis-level issues to address that garbage is low on the list. One person’s selfish, lazy garbage toss costs others both visually and financially.  Have you ever said something to a person you’ve caught tossing garbage in the wrong place? Do you think funky looking garbage cans might catch the attention of these people?

Tissue left behind on commuter train seat.

Tissue left behind on commuter train seat.

6 Responses to “Service of Garbage”

  1. Horace Peabody Said:

    Good for you to be writing a piece on garbage! For most of us it is such an unsavory subject that that the less we know about it the better. Actually, for most of the affluent world, including the U.S., however, what to do with and about waste is becoming a concern of crisis proportions. Even in a relatively under populated country like Saudi Arabia, the desert along its main highways is littered with carcasses of relatively late model Mercedes and Land Rovers, abandoned because either they were not serviced properly or they couldn’t stand up to the climate. The sight is a testament to affluence running amok, if there ever was one!

    For starters, the cause for our garbage mess is obvious. We have all – from “supply side” conservatives to “chicken in every pot” liberals – been educated to believe that headlong, reckless consumption is patriotic. The mantra is, “Even if you have got one that works, buy another and throw away the old one.” and “If you don’t have it, don’t need it and don’t want it, buy one anyway. You’ll learn to like it. Besides, the Jones’ have got one.” If we discouraged consumption instead of encouraging it, not only would we reduce the amount of garbage that piles up, but we would also preserve more of the world’s rapidly declining store of natural resources for use by future generations. Incidentally, we would be helping out with the unemployment problem if we made it fashionable again for people to repair things instead of throwing them away. Think of all the repair jobs which would open up!

    How do we get this done? Have the government, which through a complex web of taxes, subsidies and incentives, and regulatory “reform,” managed to cause the current economic crisis, not to mention the real estate and student loan “bubbles,” use its considerable power for good for a change.

  2. Nancy Farrell Said:

    I have never said anything to anyone I’ve caught putting trash in the wrong place(and that includes the uniformed boy scout who put his ice cream wrapper in my rural mail box many years ago!) We all would like to think we do a better job of saving the planet than we actually do. I don’t litter but I could do a better job of composting and the windows in my house are beautiful but drafty. I would love to be able to afford solar energy but it’s so expensive. I think that the only way to truly improve the way that people behave is to give them an incentive until it becomes second nature. I started wearing a seatbelt in the 1980s when failure to do so came with a whopping $50 fine. Now I can’t feel comfortable in a car without a seatbelt, even when I’m putting the car in the garage. As far as littering goes, the funky looking garbage cans would only add to the problem in my area, where trash pickup is not included in the taxes. People who can’t or won’t pay for garbage pickup might be even more willing to put their household trash in public garbage cans if the cans stood out and got noticed. The result is that the receptacles in my area are overflowing, thereby creating litter. The incentive, sadly, is to put household trash where it doesn’t belong.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There are front yards all over the US strewn with rusty, old cars–not Mercedes natch! Grass grows around them, a tip that they are not in use. Guess it costs too much to have them removed.

    I love the idea of having things fixed again. What a concept! And so good for jobs, as you note.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    It took fines and scary images of smashed cars to get me to use a seatbelt which is now second nature.

    Look what happened to smoking. People look cross-eyed at smokers. It’s no longer the sultry, fashionable, grownup thing to do. Garbage is expensive. A PR campaign that turns the public’s attention to damage done by irresponsibly thrown garbage might make it uncomfortable for some who don’t think twice. It’s so much easier to put a wrapper in your pocket than to stop smoking, after all!

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    This is the country of waste, so don’t expect the countryside to be cleaned up any time soon. The most effective remedy is a crash, multi depression size, which will forcibly focus public attention on the need to save. That includes efforts to redeem rusty old cars on lawns, along with raising children to respect food and other staples they cheerfully throw away without reprimand.

    While the very idea of such an event is horrifying, its arrival would pull national arrogance and feelings of entitlement down to size, thus improving international harmony and cooperation.

    Short of terrifing happenings and/or unexpected awakenings, garbage will continue to grow with an increasingly irresponsible population. Fines will not work in the long run, unless they are meant to fatten governmental purses along with adding stress to an already harried citizenry. Ongoing picking pockets of the poor and middle class may lead to riots — little more.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Your comment triggered a memory of a family story that went something like this. One of my nephews, John, at a very young age, had stared at a man in a wheelchair while they–and John’s mom–waited their turn at the dentist. When he and his mom went inside to see the dentist, out of earshot of the man, his mom told him not to stare like that because he might hurt the man’s feelings. Thinking that this was the reason the fellow was wheelchair bound, on exiting the office, John saw the man and told him that he was sorry his feelings were hurt.

    Why this story here? Because if children were taught to respect not only other people’s feelings, but other people, and that their actions were significant—such as tossing the soda can, tissue or candy wrapper on the ground—they might not become careless, garbage-pitching adults.

    And you are also right about a severe economic downturn where even the rusty car in a neighbor’s yard would have value to people who had nothing. If the windows close, it might be a welcome, dry roof over someone’s head.

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