Dear City of Hamilton Garbage and Recycling Day...
By: Devra Charney
Dear City of Hamilton Garbage and Recycling Day,
You know that I love you. Love waking up for you every Monday at 6:59 a.m. Love not seeing my garbage collected until three hours later. Love it when sometimes my flyers from last week end up scattered on my front lawn. But there are a few concerns I’d like to discuss. Where better to start than at the beginning: my first encounter with you, which, coincidentally, was the same morning that my housemates and I discovered our infestation of fruit flies.
We had been keeping our garbage in the mudroom, since despite your friendly online advice to put our trash out anytime after 7 p.m. the night before, we wanted to avoid raccoons knocking over the bins and tearing into the bags. Until your arrival on Monday morning, we thought that we had devised an effective strategy for avoiding garbage-related pests. Upon opening the door to the back room, though, we were greeted by a swarm of fruit flies buzzing around our lidless bins.
We hauled our green bin, recycling, and garbage bin out to the curb to make sure that we’d be on time for your 7 a.m. collection before doing damage control in the kitchen. Google searches eventually yielded a recipe that claimed we could solve our problem by placing a concoction of vinegar and dish soap in containers around the room. For the duration of our fruit fly eradication, we decided to keep our bins outside until the house was fly free.
When our garbage was finally collected mid-afternoon, our green bin had the same number of bags in it as before you came. Although your web guide promises a note providing a list of possible reasons our trash could have been skipped, no such explanation was left for our full bags of wet waste. Through the process of elimination, we learned that green bins are not collected when compostable waste is placed in non-biodegradable bags.
As it turns out, raccoons aren’t as particular about bag choices as you are because a few days later, our green bin was lying on its side with food scraps spilling out of its open lid. No trace of bags could be found amongst the blackened banana peels and crushed eggshells. We might not have had a fruit fly problem in our kitchen anymore, but the number of flies circling our green bin came close to the number caught in our vinegar and dish soap traps.
For the first time, our garden hose and shovel were put to good use. We scooped the mound of rotted food scraps into a biodegradable bag so that it would not be passed over on your next arrival and hosed down our green bin until it looked clean enough to eat out of, even for non-raccoons. Our final step was placing all of our bins safely back inside the mudroom.
You’ve thrown us a lot of curve balls, Garbage and Recycling Day, but next Monday morning, we’ll be ready for you. 6:59 a.m. can’t get here early enough.
Fruit Fly and Raccoon Wranglers of McMaster