Wednesday, January 05, 2011

More Ranting on Garbage

Another week, another 32 emails and phone messages about garbage. We've had our issues in the past with garbage not being taken out on holidays that fall on Thursday (for Friday pickup) such as Veteran's Day or Thanksgiving. We got that worked out, mostly. And this is important because we have those silly little rolly bins. If they're full, they're full. We can't throw away more than fits in those cans. So missing a week can be a problem.

Now I know this, and I'm just a librarian. One would think that if you owned a janitorial company and were successful enough to have received the city's contract, you would definitely realize the importance of timely garbage removal, doubly so if you were in the habit of leaving notes for me complaining about the building's rodent problem. (Working on it, almost solved, haven't seen any evidence of him in weeks but I don't want to get over confident.) And yet it is not a consistent process.

For the last two weeks our garbage has not been picked up. The solid waste department has these super fancy trucks that can grab the rolling bins and dump them making the whole process more efficient. It only works if the bin is on the curb with three feet of clearance on every side. If it isn't, they leave you a little green tag explaining the problem. (I think there was one week in my neighborhood when only one person's garbage got picked up, but we learned from our mistakes.)

The week before Christmas I woke up from a dead sleep at 2am worrying about who would bring the garbage in (this is when I realized how bad the crazy was). We're closed on the "Eves" (Christmas and New Years) which fell on Friday (bring in garbage day) this year. Fortunately we have staff in the building (since our holiday pay was only good for the actual holiday, you had to take leave to get the Eves off), and they brought in the trash. Unfortunately when I checked my email from home on Christmas the staff member sent me a message letting me know we had lots of garbage and a friendly (and holiday appropriate) green tag of warning. No three feet of clearance.

I left a note for janitorial reminding them about that issue (though they'd been in the same meeting I was where the rules were explained). On New Year's Eve when I brought in the garbage, it was still full. No tag this time though. A quick call to Solid Waste (to give you a clue, I have the number of our representative on a post-it note right beside my desk) revealed the problem. The janitors were pushing the garbage can all the way back into the dumpster enclosure* and the trucks couldn't get to it.

The head of janitorial (who works for the city and oversees the contractors) showed up all on his own today. We talked through it, he called the contractor and all should be well for this week's pick up. Because the only reason we're not drowning in garbage is we had two shorts weeks due to holidays. I'll let you know how it goes on Friday if anyone is reading still by then.

*One of the reasons we didn't initially order a dumpster is we were concerned about building an enclosure around it as required by city law. We do have a dumpster pad though. One fine day I heard hammering, but I'm opening a new library and used to that. I looked outside and saw men building me a dumpster enclosure around the dumpster pad. I called the project manager and head of facilities. They were both surprised, but I have a general rule against arguing with men with power tools and so let them build away. So our library has a dumpster pad, dumpster enclosure, and no dumpster. We do however have a great place to "hide" the rolling trash bins so they never get picked up.

1 comment:

sara said...

You poor thing. I suppose they did not have a class in "garbage removal" when you were getting your Master's, and I right? Ugh!

Hey, the rodent problem: we have mice in our ancient house all the time, and someone recommended soaking cotton balls in pure peppermint oil (you can order it off Amazon, not that stuff you get in the grocery store) and putting them where we'd seen the "evidence." It has worked so far - apparently rodents are allergic to it. It's a clean, non-toxic way of getting rid of them, and it seems to have worked...and believe me, we have tried EVERYTHING. So that's just a thought. Hope your garbage situation gets worked out soon, although I am enjoying reading the Sage of the Trash! Take care!