Monday, April 23, 2018


[“Let Inga Tell You,” La Jolla Light, published April 25, 2018] ©2018

If you watch the Environmental Services trucks pick up trash on Monday mornings, it is pretty amazing that the city-mandated black trash receptacles last as long as they do.

Our garbage pickup vehicles are seemingly modeled after one of those amusement park rides that yanks people 90 feet into the air, flips them upside down then slams them, minus their stomachs and spines, back to earth.  Arms shoot out from the trash truck, grab the container and flip it upside down over the top of the truck, then hurl it back to the pavement inflicting a whiplash on the receptacle’s lid in the process.  (The wheels take a pretty big hit too.) 

When we replaced our battered black trash bin two years ago at the city’s full cost of $70, I was dismayed to find the lid split within two months.  Now we just keep covering the cracks with Gorilla tape so rain won’t leak in and make it too heavy.  They won’t take it if it’s too heavy.

If you go to the Environmental Services website, you will note that the black city-issued bins are considered to have a functional life of ten years.  Once you stop laughing, you can further read that should you (or they) determine that your bin has become unusable before that time, you can apply to have a new one provided at a pro-rated cost (determined by them) plus a $25 delivery charge, unless you want to show up at Collection Services on 8353 Miramar Place to pick it up yourself.  Fortunately, we had an accommodating neighbor with a truck when we replaced ours.

You can, of course, provide your own black bin but it has to be a very specific model suitable for abuse by the city’s trucks.  And if they break it, or it gets stolen, it’s on you.  Of course, even if their own can gets stolen, that’s on you too. 

On the Environmental Services FAQs, question 4 asks:  “Why do I have to pay for a trash container that the trash truck broke?”  The non-answer basically comes down to: Because we said so.

If a picture says a thousand words, this collection of manhandled trash bins that I photographed over a period of 15 minutes says a lot more. Note to Environmental Services: as grateful as we are for free trash pickup, could you maybe reduce the velocity even a little, please?  Your trash receptacles thank you.


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