Sep. 10, 2018

Georgetown Sanitation

Our family has been recycling religiously for the last twenty-five or so years now. However, as of late, we’re not sure if we’re going to continue the tradition since Georgetown has, again, changed what they will and will not recycle.

It used to be that any paper products, cardboard boxes, glass, cans, the usual recyclable trash, could go into the blue bins, including trash bags full of recyclables. My husband and I noticed a change about a year ago.

The garbage men started taking the trash bags out of the bin and sitting them next to it, leaving them behind. They emptied any stray pieces (without discrimination) of recyclables inside the bin, though.

My husband called and asked what the problem was. “Why are the trashmen taking the trash bags out and leaving them behind?”

Georgetown Sanitation responded that the problem would be remedied and it was.

The next incident took almost a year and a phone call later when our recycling bin (the blue bin) was broken up. It was so broken, it looked abused and trampled on by a herd of elephants, baby elephants at the very least. The city brought us a new one, but failed to take the old broken (up) one with them.

My husband put signs on it “Please take with the recyclables” or “Please take me with you.” These notes were on large pieces of paper and taped to the outside of the bins. Finally, he called and told the office what was happening. The bin was picked up the following trash pick-up day.

A few months later, and just recently, our trash bags were taken out of the bin and bought back up the driveway. They placed them next to the large green trash bin used for regular trash. They did take the stray trash pieces (again), though.

This time, I didn’t waste anytime, I called Georgetown Sanitation and they sent someone right out to me.

“I’m so sorry for the inconvenience,” Jamie said apologetically. He was very sweet about it as he explained, “We’ve recently hired special needs people and they will not take the trash bags. They will only take what’s in the bin that they can visually see is recyclable.”

“But they’re recyclables, too,” I insisted. “Look in the bags, it’s all paper products, plastic bottles, glass, etc.”

Jamie handed me a refrigerator magnet that reads as:

City of Georgetown Recycling Tips

  • Fill your bin with recyclables:

Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, newspapers, paper, glass, cardboard boxes (folded and placed flat under bin)

  • No plastic bags – return to the grocery store
  • No pizza boxes, tires, paint cans, or fluorescent bulbs
  • City does not collect e-waste (TV, computer, printers, etc)

I went through the list with him. “There are plastic bottles, as you can see, paper products, glass, as well. What is the problem?”

“Well, the paper plates have food particles on them and if you wash out the plastic bottles and containers, they’ll accept them, but they have to be able to see that they are washed out,” he answered.

I shook my head. “And, plastic bags? What’s wrong with them? It used to be the city used to pass out clear plastic bags and then stopped. The trash bag is a plastic bag and is recyclable...and pizza boxes are cardboard.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “but they cannot see everything in the trash bag and they are not going to dig through it. Pizza boxes have grease and food stuck on them so they won’t take that either. Like I said, they’re special needs so, they’re only going to take what they can get money for at the recycling center; it’s their call.”

Really? I want their job. They get paid to pick up the recyclables and they get to pick and choose what they’ll take so they can get more money at the recycling center.

I’m all for helping special needs. I even encourage it, however, this is crazy! A lot of recyclable trash is being tossed into the landfills because the trashmen cannot use it to get extra money for it.

I shook my head again as I thanked Jamie for his time. At least he cared enough to stop in and explain what was going on; for that I’m grateful. As I said, though, it’s getting to the point that it’s not worth it to recycle anymore. Georgetown has got to do better than this.