B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too

Garbage collection in the San Fernando Valley

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 14:20 -- scott

When I was a kid, growing up in Reseda, garbage collection was much more freeform than it is today. We had several oil drums that we used as garbage cans. My father managed a Standard Oil station and later had his own Chevron service station. For yard clippings, our front yard was basically ivy, we just stuffed it into one of the cans.

The garbage collectors would come by once a week and pick up whatever was left on the curb. One guy drove the truck and another rode along on the back and jumped off at every stop to load the garbage into the back of the truck and work the compressor. I wonder how they decided which was which or if they took turns.

These days garbage collection is semi-automated. The garbage collectors never get out of their truck. The truck has a fork that drops down the side of the truck, lifts the provided cans over the truck and empties them. If the garbage is not in a designated container it's not picked up. The cans are made out of plastic and they don't hold up for very long. Mine is currently cracked down one side and the lid is missing.

Sometimes I think the garbage men get offended by something because the cans are occasionally thrown over my wall. My house is on an alley.

Recently we've had people dropping off their garbage behind the houses along this alley, yard clippings, construction materials, etc. At the moment I have some tree trimmings and the pieces of a broken cabinet taking up space in the alley. The city came by and issued me a citation for obstructing the alley with this stuff.

Today is Sunday and pick up day is tomorrow morning. I was just out in the alley with the last of the household garbage to be disposed of and I found that all the garbage cans along the alley now contain rolled up pieces of used carpeting as well as large plastic bags full of leaves. I don't have room for my own garbage let alone all this additional stuff that has been donated.

They just raised the rates for garbage collection here.