Sunday, July 10, 2016

Clean Streets, California Style

During a recent trip to California, it was a relief to be able to walk along clean streets. One day a week, three different-colored rollcarts appear in front of each house. The smallest one holds trash, another holds recyclables, and another holds yardwaste and food scraps. By the end of the day, they're all emptied and retrieved by the residents, leaving the streets clean for the rest of the week.

In New Jersey, things are done a little differently. This pile of yardwaste in my neighborhood was on the street for three months. Each time the crews came by to scoop it up, there was a car parked there.

It was eventually hauled away, but by then it had already turned into compost.

Though the fall loose leaf pickup is viewed by many to be necessary, rollcarts could handle the quantities of yardwaste and leaves generated the rest of the year, greatly reducing the ten month long mess in the streets.

As pointed out in previous posts, the preferred behavior, backyard composting, is invisible, while dumping leaves in the street is highly visible, and therefore copied by neighbors. As any parent knows, no amount of education can counteract the power of example. A rollcart for yardwaste provides a much-needed visible, imitatable alternative to loose dumping.

In the meantime, we'll always have California (and North Carolina, and Michigan, and ...)

1 comment:

Harbor Sparrow said...

My husband and I walk by the pile of yard waste composting in the street every morning. It also was near a storm drain and in danger of helping it clog up. I was irritated by it every day for 60 days. MOST of it is now removed, but still not all. To add to the irritation, the same neighbor has election signs in the birm (which is public property) that have been there for over 2 years. Wake up, please folks, and try to be a nice neighbor.