Friday, October 8, 2010

The World is My Trash Can.

Not my trash can, you understand - I've got two and I use them - but there seems to be a new trend in dealing with unwanted items.  Every spring there arises a crop of tires at the sides of the country roads around me.  They start way back in the woods, where people have tossed them over the winter.  Then a group of local septuagenarians puts on their hiking gear and slogs into the underbrush to pull them out to the side of the road.  Sometimes the county trucks actually comes along and pick them up, but most likely not and they slowly become weed-filled planters.

Next are the piles - some large, some small - of various unwanted items ranging up from paint cans, broken toys and household goods, to upholstered furniture.  No item can be too damaged or deranged to be placed out in a pile by the side of the road.  Sometimes there's a handwritten "FREE" sign put in the general area of the pile.  Most times, it's just understood.  And who wouldn't want that large, stained, lilac and magenta flower print sofa that's been sitting out there in three or four downpours over the past two months?  The common practice here is to have a yard sale/tag sale/garage sale and put all the things that didn't sell in a heap by the road until it is picked over (of which I am guilty on occasion) and slowly becomes a shapeless, sodden mass.  While I do enjoy the thrill of discovering something I covet in a free pile, let's use our heads, people.  Give it a week, then transport that stuff to be reused, recycled or piled in one of the towering landfills.  As much as I dislike adding anything to landfills (don't even get me started on disposable diapers), better there than at the side of the road.

But my pet peeve is the trash that is thrown out of car windows.  Finish your Stewart's chili?  Toss it out the window, followed twenty feet later by the plastic spoon with which you ate it.  Finish your beer?  Out it goes.  Enjoy your McMeal, then drive around with the remnants in your car for over an hour until you come to a nice, pristine country road.  Heave ho!  It drives me crazy.  Does this happen in your neck of the woods?


  1. Sad to say, but true. I think to a lesser extent in our sparsely populated area. Less people, less junk.

    We have two mile stretches of the main highway that people sign up to be responsible for keeping free of the litter that does find its way into the ditches. Many businesses take advantage of this for advertising. Everyone who maintains a stretch of road gets an little tasteful sign posted right on the road indicating who takes care of collecting the rubbish for that area.

    In town you will see piles by the curb with a "FREE" sign next to it. For the most part if the stuff is not gone in a reasonable length of time, the home owner takes responsibility for hauling it away. (Small town, you know, where everybody knows who lives where!)

  2. Not as big a problem here as some places I've been; we have the signs showing who is responsible for a stretch of road, too. The problem isn't new, though. I've found rusting pieces of OLD vehicles and machinery, metal buckets and such out in the woods....

  3. It happens here. We have to pay to dump all that garbage so now people drive out on beautiful country roads and dump their tires, old appliances, etc. It makes for some not so nice hikes.

  4. I WONDERED who was pulling those tires out of the woods....

  5. Erin and Mama Pea, well, thank goodness we're not the only blip on the map with the problem (I guess). Mama Pea, our little blip is part of a "metropolis" of a total of 1100 residents, many of whom are weekenders. So we all know who lives where. I guess it's more of a who-cares attitude. Maybe I should move north while I can still stand winter!

    Michelle - I stumble across all kinds of semi-burnt things on my piece of heaven. Apparently, the previous owners couldn't be bothered to haul their trash away. It's amazing what crops up!

    Hi Sparkless! Yes, we have to pay for garbage we find on our property if we take it in. I don't want to count the money I've spent taking old tires I've picked up to the recycling center. I finally used them to grow potatoes. At least I can recycle myself!

    Mel - you have to hand it to them. In the height of tick/mosquito season, they're out there trying to clean up the woods. Enough of us finally complained to the county and they come through in the late spring and pick up the neat stacks of tires. Local government - no way Jose.