The Thursday night all-you-can-scavenge buffet.

The City, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to include kitchen and yard waste pickup along with regular trash collection. For no additional fee, you get a little 13-gallon wheelie bin; if you need a larger container you have to pay for it. It’s pretty clear what is allowed in the kitchen waste bins and what isn’t, and while the guy next door’s been bitching to all who will listen about how it wasn’t put up for a vote, I’m all for it.

The city delivered the free bins to each house in my neighborhood earlier this week; actual pickup of kitchen wastes doesn’t start until March 3oth. But I realized right away that since the bin is  so compact, there’s no reason not to put mine where it will actually get used–in the kitchen, by the back door.

But as I looked at it more closely, I realized there is another reason to keep it inside, one that doesn’t seem to have entered the minds of whoever chose the bins: there is no latch, or some other built-in way to keep the lid shut. And the bin itself is only about two feet tall. That means it poses no challenge whatsoever to an adult raccoon, or even a good-sized dog. Short of setting a cinderblock on the lid, there is no way to keep the bin outside without it turning into a supersized to-go container for the ring-tailed hoodlums that roam my neighborhood.

So I can see it now: another trash day dawns, and the alley is full of little green bins, all tipped over and spilling coffee grounds, orange peels, and eggshells everywhere. The crows and squirrels are duking it out for the best stuff; they already do it now atop overstuffed garbage bins, but thanks to the raccoons the pickings will now be even better (and the alley–already seedy-looking–will be even trashier).

I probably wouldn’t have thought of this–or been so annoyed by it–had I not spent the last five years here keeping urban wildlife at bay. The squirrels and crows can be troublesome, the rats are a constant bother, but it’s the possums, and especially the raccoons that have given me the most headaches since I moved here. I used to think raccoons were cute, but after dealing with the little bastards firsthand? I’m so over that.

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