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Sep 5

Written by: Greg Runyon
9/5/2011 10:33 AM 

I got my new Garby the other day.  This is the city of Cedar Rapids’ cute name for its new garbage cans, joining its brethren “Yardy” and “Curby,” which are for yard waste and curbside recycling, respectively.  I will admit to being somewhat excited about this.  I make very little garbage, so I often go a month or more between putting my trash out for collection.  When I do, though, it seems like the can is often kind of heavy (I throw away a lot of bricks, apparently), and I feel a little bad for the poor guy who has to dump my can.  So I'm glad we're on the path to having some big mechanical arm do it, sparing someone's vertebrae.

I do take issue with one thing in particular about these new garbage cans, however:  The instructions I got with the new can says that all garbage must be bagged.

I don't get that.  What possible difference could it make if the garbage is in a bag?  The garbage is going to get dumped out of my can, into a giant truck, which is going to—unless they've changed garbage truck technology while I wasn't looking—compact it along with a bunch of other garbage.  Is the bag going to survive that crushing?  I doubt it.  Sooner or later it’s going to belch its contents, so why make a big deal over whether it's in a bag to get from my can to the truck?

Let's say I have something oddly shaped, like a torn lampshade that I'd like to dispose of.  I don't think they're going to take that in the recycling bin, and they for sure would go ballistic if I popped it into my Yardy.  Thus, I'm left with the only remaining option, throwing it away.  It won't fit in my kitchen garbage can, so it won't go in the garbage I would normally bag anyway.  So, what am I supposed to do, put this stupid lampshade into its own bag simply in order to place it in the Garby?  That's idiotic, and I refuse.  Ha ha, I refuse to do that with my refuse.  Clever wordplay there.

What they don't mention is what sort of bag they require the garbage to be in, and what they failed to realize when making up this rule is that there are cranks such as myself just looking for an opportunity to make a completely useless point.  I have dreams of putting all of my garbage into sandwich bags one time and putting it out for collection.  That's right, I want to take the maximum 100 pounds of allowed garbage, divvy it up into what would undoubtedly be hundreds of sandwich bags, and place said sandwich bags into the can.

The following week, I will go to Goodwill and buy a bunch of purses for a buck apiece and put all of my garbage in there.  Merriam-Webster says a synonym for “purse” is “handbag,” which is undeniably a bag.  It's right there in the name!  Or I should eat at fast food joints every day for a month and collect all the paper bags they give with the food, meticulously filling each one and placing it with loving care in the can.

I threw out one of those plastic bags they give you at the grocery store the other day because it had a hole in it, and I sat there wondering if I should put the plastic bag that I consider garbage into another plastic bag in order to “properly” dispose of it.  It really is stuff like this that will one day drive me absolutely batty.  As they are institutionalizing me for my own safety, I will be the guy screaming about how to throw away garbage properly.  Give me a wave if you see me.

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