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Sorting Out Trash Day

August 15, 1991

Tuesday is "trash day" in Northeast Los Angeles. It used to be that meant getting up a little earlier and putting out the cans or bags by the curb and waiting for the truck to come and take it away. Not anymore.

Now we must sort out cans, bottles, plastics, newspapers and ordinary trash. Just what is ordinary trash?

We wait for two trucks, not one. Last Tuesday, we put our cans inside plastic bags. The recycling man refused to pick it up. This week, we meticulously sorted everything. The neighbors put things in plastic. A different man worked our route. He said he didn't have time to sort things, so he picked up everything, sorted or not.

Why am I griping? I just want consistency.

I also question the expenditure, in this time of economic instability, on the yellow bins, special trash cans and the quite obviously expensive, sophisticated new vehicles needed to utilize them. I know it's for the environment, but why now? On this day, a pumper and ladder truck are "browned out" at Fire Station No. 12, Northeast L.A.'s main firehouse. If a brush fire on Mount Washington gets out of hand and homes are lost because of a shortage of fire equipment, or someone dies because there's no paramedic close enough to respond in time, those victims won't need to worry about separating their cans.

Let's get our priorities straight.

Kent R. Burke

Mount Washington

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