Trash Update

You might remember this post from last summer.  It started with the lines of the song “Take out the papers and the trash”…

“Or you don’t get no spendin’ cash.”  Do you remember that song?   Much to everyone’s dismay it was the song for most of June.  I have this, and I am sure it is annoying, habit of spontaneously singing little bits of songs.  And I get stuck on the same song sometimes.  I think that these songs reflect my mood or a an issue that is occupying part of my mind.  And trash was a big issue in June.

In towns such as Lucignano regular trash pick up outside your door happens.  But for us ‘country folk’, to get rid of trash and recycling , you load it in your car and haul it to a collection of bins.


trash cans sagra festa posters 002

trash cans sagra festa posters 001

From the left, the small, yellow one is for used batteries, the white one for paper, two grey metal ones are for non-recyclable trash, green one is for cans and plastic.  There is also a bin for glass.  Here in our little neck of the woods these bins are emptied regularly.  And trash blowing around or attracting bugs or other animal life is not a problem.  It really is pretty easy to just throw a bag of trash or the recycling in the car each time we go out.  Probably far easier than remembering ‘Oh, I have to set the trash out tonight.’ 

In May, we received a letter.  Door to door trash service is going to start.  Ida (our neighbor) and I read the letter together and were rolling our eyes over that.  Really?  Someone is going to drive all the way up here to get trash from 3 households?  Ida did not receive a letter, because even though she registered months ago when she moved in, no one at the trash agency had processed the registration.  The letter said that I needed to present myself at part of the town government building before July 4 to pick up my ‘kit’.  One afternoon I duly presented myself so that I could stand in line with 3 other people.  We stood in line at least 15 minutes before one of us was called in.  Much eye rolling and exclaiming happened among the three of us still waiting.  I mean, it is just trash! 

Finally I am called in.  It seems that the two people working are each doing one on one consultations about the new trash procedures.  ‘Oh,’ my consular says, ‘you have an Italian last name but a foreign first name!’  Then a lot of rapid fire, local dialect.  Most of which I don’t understand.  And I’m sure she can see the confused look on my face.  So she takes me around the room, starting with questions, one of which is ‘does my household use diapers?’.  Well the word for diapers is very similar to the word for laundry and the word for sandwiches, ‘panino’.  More confused looks (yes we eat sandwiches) but somehow I figure out that she means diapers and am able to answer no.  We move on and she loads my arms with rolls of plastic bags in different colors, a big stack of heavy paper bags that are almost as tall as I am and this very small rectangular trash can with a lid that is about the size of a US gallon of milk, then the key, a chart with the days that each type of trash will be picked up and I am supposed to sign that I have received all of this.  My consular has decided that she is not going to try to explain all of this to me.  I should be upset about this but I know that Ida will help me and it is far easier to do that.  So loaded up, I sail out the door in record time giving false hope to those still waiting that they will be able to do the same.

mid june 2015 018

At home, I show all this to Ida.  The little brown container is the funniest thing I have ever seen.  It is meant for the wet trash.  But it is so small that anyone would be lucky to get the rind from two cantaloupes in it.  Italians, typically eat a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.  This little container will not be big enough for the food trash produced by one meal.  We are both shaking our heads. 

A few days later, after going from one office to another, Ida is able to have her consultation.  She gives me the scoop when she gets home.  Most of the bins pictured above, beside the road, will be going away.  They really are going to come up to our door to pick up plastic, paper and mixed.  We will still have to drive to a collection point to drop off glass and organic/wet garbage.  Those 2 bins will need the key to be opened with.  I forget to ask and no one has mentioned when this is all going to start.  The owner of the property has been to pick up his ‘kit’ but I have not talked to him to know if he worked out whether or not someone is really going to drive all the way up here to one place or from building to building…..

Since these questions remain, I’m still singing the trash song.  Aiming the line ‘and tell your hoodlum friend outside that you can’t go out and take a ride!  Yackty YACK, Yackty Yack,…. Yackty YACK, Yackty YACK…. Yackty YACK, Yackty YACK…. Don’t talk Back!” at Nerone who knows that cats are hoodlums but they can drive? and why would he get in a car with a cat?????


Now aren’t you glad that I put that song in your head?


March 15, 2016 update


Well indeed it turned out that little trash trucks were not coming up to our door.  Instead we got a new collection of two cans at the bottom of the drive.  One for bottles and one for organic trash.  The same as every where else.  By 7:00 AM (shutter!  that time exists?)  on Monday, Wednesday and Friday I am supposed to have one of the three remaining categories of trash down by the road for pickup.  Mixed recycling (plastic and metal) on Mondays, paper on Wednesdays, and anything else on Fridays.  I had a lot of problems with this.  Trash is heavy and it is a long walk down to the street.  And if I am going to walk I probably should take that dog with me, except I can’t carry the trash and handle the dog too.  I try driving it down, but inevitably the foot of the drive is being used as a meeting point and various cars are stopped or parked there, so while there is passage to get in and out of the drive, turning around is another matter.

And it seems that others have problems with it too.  The wrong kind of trash is turning up and just being left.  Or folks don’t have ‘the key’ to open the bin to put trash in it so it is just left.  The foot of the drive starts to look like a trash pile.  Not a good look.  The owner of the property is all upset about it.  Telling Ida and me that we have to fix it.  Well, Ida takes her trash with her somewhere in her car and many times I do the same, having sussed out communities that have not yet converted to this new wonderful system.  But Ida relents and fills out a complaint form.  I take pictures and email the form in.  We hear nothing.  Then Ben and I leave for vacation, all of November and part of December.  We come back.  Nothing has changed.  The owner of the property comes back and starts making phone calls.  Finally, it is worked out that because Ben is disabled, and the mother of the owner of the property who lives here year round is older and not in the best of health that it is a hardship and the trash company will come up and pick up the trash.

early march 2016 029

So they move the cans up, and right outside my kitchen window!!!!.  How attractive…


Anyway,  now 6 days a week a little truck tootles up and picks up something or empties a bin.

early march 2016 027


early march 2016 028

Fortunately it is not too early in the morning and they are fairly quiet.  So things are better.  And I am no longer singing the trash song.



1 Comment

  1. Elena

    We had the same problems in the Abruzzo. We have to go yearly to the trash office and pick up a calendar which has the pick up schedules (it changes from season to season). We also have to go to the office to get garbage bags. At first they interrogated us if we were visitors or residents and after inspecting our identity cards seemed somewhat satisfied but getting the bags every months is still an adventure. The same person has been doing this for the last four years you think she would recognize us by now. Trash collections are certainly an adventure here.

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