Saturday, 17 August 2013

A First World Problem

Every place you live has a different rubbish system.  I can say that as a veteran now of three cities.  It always tends to bring out my anxiety in case I infringe some local bye-law.    In Brussels it was quite easy to annoy the bin men.  If you misused a recycling bag they would leave it there with a huge "STOP" sticker slapped on.  It might then stay there on the street for weeks because the offending user would not reclaim it.  In the first place I lived I picked them up and put them in general rubbish bags, just to get shot of them.

When I arrived in Gent I bought the wrong rubbish bags, but it was not at all clear where one bought the right rubbish bags.  They are hidden behind counters in most supermarkets and branches of Brico and you have to ask for them.  Quite why this is, I'm not sure.  They'd be quite hard to shoplift and they aren't intoxicating or dangerous as far as I know.  They are known here as Ivago sacks although in my head they are Iago sacks and therefore not to be trusted.

I discovered the collection calendar online and worked out that rubbish goes every week, glass once a month, plastics/cans and paper on alternating weeks.  And then my collection day goes and falls on Assumption day, which (I've done all the assumption jokes already) is a big bloody day off.  So my rubbish and plastic bottles were sitting out there like kids sent to the Headmaster for the last few days.  In London they would be collected the day after a public holiday.

I decided that under cover of darkness I would bring them back in rather than let them fester in public.  Also, the plastics were not due for another fortnight.  It was worrying and somewhat embarrassing, even though nobody could possibly know they were mine.  Then, further worry, somebody piled them with other rogue sacks across the road.  There was no way now I could identify my own rubbish without looking odd.

Anyway, Gent being such a schoon place, a rubbish lorry came round this evening and took them all.  I have a feeling those bottles won't be recycled.  And now I can stop angsting about my festering crap.

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