I had to recycle my Blue Bin story on the phone

Recyling bin

We try to get things back into the system.

My dear wife Karen and I try to be good citizens of our Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood and our dear planet Earth.

So we follow the spirit of our local recycling laws, tossing our plastic and paper and cardboard and glass into the city-provided Blue Bins, which are picked up along with the regular trash by city workers every Tuesday morning. Our taxes at work.

Winters are tough on these hard plastic bins, as the recyleable stick to the sides and the collectors bang them on the metal portions of the receptacles in their quick trips up and down the streets of Syracuse. I’ve admired their work.

And I’ve seen the cracks that resulted in both of our bins. One was wrecked beyond use; the other can still hold our stuff.

So late in January, I placed a call to the city offices and requested two new Blue Bins, those signs of proper disposal.

The kind gentleman told me we’d get a new pair within two weeks.

I waited. This being a tough winter, I granted a couple more weeks grace.

No bins.

Our one working receptacle was always over-stuffed come the end of the weekend. Apparently we are zealous consumers, Karen, I and Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle. That’s why we need two Blue Bins.

So I called the same number, and I think I got the same gentleman, because he jumped onto his computer, and was even nicer than the first time, and quickly picked up on my rehash of the initial story of my cracked bins.

He told me our two new Blue Bins — my mind imagined their sparking blue finish as he spoke the words — had been delivered on Jan. 27, a few days after my initial call. I asked of the usual procedure, and he said the delivery person left them streetside at the designated address.

So a neighbor of mine swiped our new Blue Bins before we spotted their arrival. Or somebody driving past our house actually stopped their vehicle, jumped out, and took our two new Blue Bins into their possession.

Yes, agreed this kind voice on the phone, apparently having gone through this routine previously.

He quickly keystroked in another delivery. I asked if a notation could be made requesting a few extra steps to place our two new Blue Bins by our side porch. He agreed.

So my Blue Bin experience delivered the nasty and nice of human nature, side-by-side.

Does your locale require bin recycling, and if so, how often is it picked up? Do you have enough room in your receptacles for your recycling refuse, or if not, how have you been imaginative? Has anything been taken from in front of your house, and if so, what and when and what did you do about it?

86 thoughts on “I had to recycle my Blue Bin story on the phone

  1. well glad you now have your two new bins finally – but crazy to think that someone would swipe them. in richmond where I live they used to give out free bins (like yours – but green) but now for a deposit of 70 bucks they will deliver a special jumbo bin that is similar to he garbage can – and I guess that is for very serious recyclers – and I wish the States were more like Canada when it comes to recycling – because my sister who lives in Ontario said they even recycle food scraps for compost –

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  2. My Blue Bin is actually a Yellow Bin… and it is cracked in half on two sides because my recycling people throw it in the road constantly, and it gets ran over. Yes, I often go over quota on the bin, and have to fill a plastic bag with the overflow. And Yes, once I had a newly new bin, and while I was away one weekend, my neighbor stole it! (I know this because he bragged to another neighbor who told me!)

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  3. We’ve changed recycling procedures a few times over the years here in Ottawa. Currently we have a tall green wheelie for compostables, and black and blue bins for recycling. Black used to be cardboard and blue plastic and glass, but now they switched it so cardboard goes out one week in any bin and plastic/glass goes out the next week in any bin (except compostables which go out every week in the green wheelie). So, it always takes a peek down the street to remember which goes out on garbage day – cardboard or glass/plastic. Bins disappear here too,so most paint their house address on the bins. They do sometimes break in the winter and they used to be free but i think you have to pay for them now. I board, so all my garbage goes into a big dumpster out back – easier for me but makes me feel kind of guilty. πŸ˜€

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  4. When we had a house, we used paint to add our street address and also our last name onto our own blue bins. It is hard to find the right kind of paint which will survive the weather. I am so glad you recycle, Mark. I wish people weren’t rude and taking things that don’t belong to them. I give my cans to the homeless, putting them on our dumpster in a plastic bag for them to trade them in. My magazines go to Jenny’s house, some paper, too. She and her husband take them to a pig farmer who shreds them for pig bedding! Smiles!

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    • We put our cans in our bins, and the pickers come and take them out befor the recyclers come, Robin. Usually it’s the guy who rides our street on his Rascal scooter, so I know he needs them. He drapes the big plastic bag over the bag of his chair and fills it with the cans. That’s why we put them out instead of taking them in ourselves. I like your plan, too.

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  5. We have the tall ones Kerbey mentioned. No problem filling it up as it’s collected every second week. Good work on the initial request and follow-up, but how sad that it was a routine fix, like it happens all the time 😦 My willingness to believe the best things that someone didn’t know they were taking something they shouldn’t have. But the other part of me is scowling and shaking a finger. My daughter’s purse and phone were stolen once off our front lawn. Her bad for forgetting it there overnight, but we live in Suburbia so was surprised to find professional phone thieves at work. The card was switched out and her phone (traced online) was making new calls the next day. Grrrrr… Lesson learned the hard way, but how nice if we lived in a society where that lesson didn’t need to be learned.

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  6. Many years ago in the place where I live now, you went to a central county location, showed proof of residency, and got one yellow bin. I’m convinced someone asked me to marry him as a ploy for a second bin.

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  7. ha ha exactly that!!!! i’ve webbed my new council and ordered new bins… new bins?! not a chance! no wonder the people down my street paint their own house number on the wheelies!!! so instead, I got a plastic bucket thingummy and stuck that outside with the recycling… low and behold not only does the recycling disappear but also the plastic tub.. and still no new bins… I will have to call the council (and the police department πŸ˜‰ )

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    • People do very low things these days, Niki, taking a plastic bucket thigummy that obviously is the property of somebody else. Why has it come to this? I hope the police take it seriously over your side of the big pond.

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      • πŸ™‚ lol, Brighton is a funny place! it’s one of those hippy sort of middle class type places where people leave sometimes really valuable things outside their houses for other people to take, with a note saying, this is fully functional please help yourself. oh and there are lots and lots of students, mostly quite wealthy. so i guess, if someone walks by and needs a big red bucket… it sort of says… take me I’m yours (it’s alright, I’ve got another! and I don’t really like red πŸ™‚ )
        Nx

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      • We leave free stuff on our streetside, too, NIki, as we get newer replacements, and are glad to share with people who can use it. But obviously not new recyling bins! Odd world we live in.

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  8. What a terrible thing! How do adults do unethical things like that? The guilt would eat me alive! I’m the kind that if I’m shopping, and clothes fall off hangers, I bend over and pick them up. Even if I didn’t knock them off. I couldn’t dare steal your blue bins. That said, our city demanded all of our blue bins last year and replaced them with enormous green trash-can sized recycling bins, about as tall as I am. They come every other week, and there is no way our family can ever fill up a 10th of the heavy, cumbersome wheeled bin, even with all of my Coke and wine bottles, canned soups, and cartons. I wonder if your town will go that way one day?

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  9. Yep, we live in a college town–you’ve got to put your mark on the bins or they’ll end up down the street full of beer cans, not that it’s a bad thing when students actually put forth the effort to recycle. Unfortunately, our Solid Waste Authority charges $15 for the bins if yours vanish or fall apart (and man do the trash technologists on the truck love to toss those bad boys back at the driveway once they’re empty). That’s why our bin is a tribute to the restorative properties of duct tape.

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    • The one that is gone had one side completely banged out of it. No tape job in the world could fix it, Chuck. When I called the first time I said my second one had a smaller crack, and the nice man I mentioned said that meant I get two new ones …

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  10. I am a neurotic recycler. (I tear the plastic windows out of junk mail so the rest of the envelope can be recycled.) We have recycling bins in our apartment building on each floor. The bins are labeled: plastic, metal & glass, paper & cardboard, trash. My pet peeve is putting the wrong thing in the wrong bin, especially trash in the recycling. People do it all the time. Someone took the time to make all those signs. I imagine some poor sap at the recycling plant has to pull out every piece of garbage that some lazy or thoughtless person tossed into the recycling bin. I don’t have a lot of pet peeves. You bring up a sore subject, Mark. πŸ˜‰

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  11. Recycling, what a topic. I really wonder what they do with the mixed paper and glass, separate it later I guess? I hope so. The other thing that is a little different, we don’t have individual crates for a house or apartment in Athens, just one massive bin at the corner of every block of flats. It definitely helps with sneaky swaps and mysterious disappearances. And they are collected daily! for which I am very happy as you don’t want to walk around and sniff ‘unsniffable’ things, esp in the summer. I was very mad they only do it weekly in London.

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  12. Our trash and recycling are also picked up only ever 2 weeks (alternating weeks). We aren’t given bins but rather a receptable that stands nearly 4 feet tall, and we do manage to fill it up. We’ve purchased 3 additional bins for when we have parties. Our weekly pick up is compost.
    We’ve had tools go missing from our backyard and hope that this wouldn’t be the case now that we’ve been there 4 years but try not to tempt anyone by leaving anything that isn’t nailed down! We also had a bad experience with a neighbour who hit our car and refused to take responsibility. Made for very awkward living for a while.

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    • Stealing tools from your backyard really stinks, Jay. And the car thing stinks worse. We have a fence around our backyard, and a loud, barking dog, so I can’t say if anybody would creep in and attempt that, but I sure hope not. Our little driveway accomodates both our cars, too. so … Knock on wood.

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  13. Funny you should bring this up…We have red bins. They look about the same size as your blue bin, and we have had to use 2 red bins ever since the day we moved in. We are also big recyclers. I have to go to the city building to pay my utilities bill once a month, so if there’s a problem with one of our bins (Or if one has been stolen, which it has a couple times), I just pick one up while I’m there. (They keep them right next to the utilities office. It’s quite nice!) Well In January our city put out a newsletter letting us know that we will know longer be using the red bins. They are changing them to giant grey bins that look like trashcans and have wheels and a lid. This is fine. We’ll definitely use them up, BUT if it gets damaged or stolen WE are responsible for the cost of a replacement! It’s outrageous! It’s…recycle-gate…or bin-ageddon! It’s a major pain in the wallet! And it starts next month. So far there hasn’t been many complaints about it, but give it time. I look forward to June’s city hall meeting when the picketers arrive. Just remember, I coined bin-ageddon. πŸ™‚

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    • Bin-agdeddon is the perfect term for it, Rachel. May I suggest that you immediately procure your Sharpie to imprint your address on the new big gray wheelie bin the moment it is delivered?

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  14. Yes, I think recycling is mandatory here. We’ve done it for well over ten years, so even before we had a recycling bin, we were unloading at recycle centers. We compost about half the year, too, so we barely have trash, but I’d love to have a second recycle bin. Our is a large outdoor bin, just like the garbage one, only blue and yellow. Ours are numbered. The number is assigned to a house. It’s a good thing πŸ™‚

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  15. Here in San Francisco, we have three bins. The black one is for regular trash, the blue one is for recycling, and the green one is for composting. All food and the packaging that much of the food came in goes into the green composting bin. I never realized until we moved here all the stuff that could be composted. All of the paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass stuff goes into the blue bin. We actually end up with very little left to put into the black trash bin.

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  16. Oh my goodness Mark, that’s just crazy! Who would take someone else’s blue bins?? You know, I just have to look on the bright side of life and say that whoever that was, was doing some hardcore recycling. A desperate attempt to save the planet maybe??

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  17. We don’t have personal bins here bro Mark. If we are lucky there will be a community bin within walking distance, otherwise we have to drive to the recycle plant and deliver paper and plastic there. No glass in this area. I did forget about cans–those can be sold, so they are the most collected recycled items here, and are usually kept indoors so they won’t be stolen. At times people can get good prices for the cans, but the paper and plastic are a different story, so most people don’t bother with those. Understandable in the older generation where we can’t drive any more, but so bad with the younger ones who are polluting the earth and never giving it a second thought. And the Village Idiots in city hall who don’t care enough to make it easy to recycle by providing pick up service for recyclables. I’m proud of all who have this service and use it.

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    • I’m happy that folks pick the refundable cans out of the blue bins, Angie, if homeowners so choose to put them in there. Other cans are left. Soup cans, veggie cans, etc., for the bin folks to haul away. Yes, I’m glad to comply.

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      • I wish we had bins to recycle plastic and paper that were on site here Mark. The closest one is 25 blocks away, too far for me to go in my power chair, so mine goes in the dump. Not many people in Owensboro take the time to recycle because they make it difficult for us.

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  18. Mark, you’re old enough to remember vinyl albums and the value of swiped milk crates. Or have I said too much? If I recall, when Canada switched to the Metric system in the mid-seventies, and gallons became litres, the new milk crates didn’t quite accommodate albums. Those old crates were like gold.
    As for your blue bin, they look awfully flimsy. Made of recycled plastic, maybe?

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    • Of course I’m old enough to remember, and that’s certainly no secret, Ross. (See gravatar and assorted selfies, etc.)

      Maybe these things do fetch a fair price on the open market. I don’t think they’re particularly flimsy. I think the winter causes stuff to stick to them, and the resulting whack causes the frozen vinyl to crack fairly easily.

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  19. Yes, I had neighbors that when their trash bin would get cracked and broken, they would trade their broken bins with mine that was in good shape Finally, I asked Waste Management if I could “black marker” my address on them and was given the okay. Guess what!? That “sneaky switch” never happened again! I’m surprised they let ya’ll recycle glass. We aren’t allowed to here. Also, they only pick up our recycle trash every two weeks. I don’t have much trash so I normally only need to put mine out once a month to be picked up. Same with my “regular” trash bin.

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