Dumpster Diaries

Why do people have to be so lazy?

Yesterday I watched as a man — who presumably works for our apartment complex — picked up nearly a dumpster’s worth of trash from the ground surrounding our dumpster and put it where it actually belonged: IN the trash compactor.

For a week, people had been putting their trash on the ground, rather than using the compactor properly. It started with some well-meaning person leaving something reusable outside. I don’t remember what the thing in question was, perhaps one of the bookshelves. Later, someone else put out a fairly nice, black sectional sofa. Then someone put their trash on the sofa, and from then on the game was on. Many people continued to use the dumpster, but there were plenty of lazy bones who couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of opening the door and tossing their bag in.

Once in a while, some of the complex crew would grab a few bags and toss them in, but the problem was so endemic that by the end of the week there was a disgusting, humongous, fly and maggot infested mess all along the front of this apparatus, and people were clearly getting lazier and lazier by the day.

It’s been hot and sunny all week, except for two consecutive days of rain as Hurricane Dennis made his way up towards Canada.

Can you imagine how disgusting all that household waste was becoming, sitting out in the blazing Georgia sun for a whole week? I don’t have to imagine, I know, because I went out there and put my trash in the dumpster. I also know because eventually, I went out there and helped put some of those bags in, too, until I’d spot some maggots and leave with the heeby-jeebies.

So I watched as this wonderful, dedicated, courageous man spent the entire day picking up other people’s trash and did their work for them. Every few bags, he’d activate the compactor and have to wait while it did its thing. Then he’d put more bags in, wait for the compactor, and repeat. Endlessly, or so it seemed. It took him all day, because there was that much trash.  He never gave up, never flagged in his determination.

That was yesterday.

The entire area was cleared, no excuses for those coming to the dumpster. Simply no way to think to themselves “Maybe the compactor is broken” or “Look, they put their trash outside, why don’t I be a sheep and do likewise?”

So imagine my dismay as I watched people do the wrong thing all day. The trash piled up at an alarming rate all day, until by the time 5 PM rolled around it looked almost EXACTLY the way it had yesterday. Disgusting. I felt tempted to print up flyers I would put on every single door (a tall order with more than 500 apartments here) chastising everyone for their laziness – or at least serving as a public service announcement. I can’t actually afford to print all that at the moment, so we’ll wait and see.

I might just turn into my Girl Scout project for the year.

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