Garbage: Public And Private


The city in which I have lived all of my nearly sixty-one years decided to undertake a war on garbage. A very noble cause indeed. But I must admit there is also a bit of confusion in the signs that have been posted on many if not all trash cans.

The sign on the left clearly indicates the potential fine for littering, and informs citizens that there are plenty of garbage cans in the area. The message is simple and well put: if this can is full, there are others nearby.

If I produce litter while out (perhaps I remove the wrapper from a chocolate bar), must I hold on to it until I get home? Or can I place it in a public can?

But the sign on the left tells folks that private waste should not be put in public bins. I did not realize that there was a great difference between private and public waste. I believe that if I put my private garbage in a public trash receptacle the city will empty said can. Whereas if I keep my private trash and put it out front of my house on a Tuesday or Friday, the city will also empty it. Hmmm….

If I produce litter while out (perhaps I remove the wrapper from a chocolate bar), must I hold on to it until I get home? Or can I place it in a public can? The fines are significant so I don’t want to get nailed. If I leave home and find Kleenex in my pocket can I get rid of it in a public can?

NYC 1970s Sign

The first time I went to New York City was in 1977. It was the ‘old New York’, dirty, gritty and perhaps a little dangerous. One of the many things that struck me was the severe tone of the anti-litter signs. No soft selling, no politesse, just an in your face message.

While I appreciate my city’s gentler approach, I think the notion of private and public garbage is just a wee bit odd. It all ends up in the same place!

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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