A few months ago I came home to find a green bin standing upright in the driveway.
It was just standing there alone, waiting to be welcomed into my life, into the warm summer stench of our garage. I felt overwhelmed with the bliss that only a long-anticipated gift to make my life more environmentally-friendly can offer. It was love at first sight.
Its clean, lean, green plastic body shone in the sunlight, measuring hip height, with a sturdy handle and a flat lid clipped by a large red plastic latched lip. It stood on two black wheels levelled to the bottom of the bin. On the front, the County of Wellington Solid Waste Services logo. On the side, a place to mark our relationship forever with a Sharpie pen and the numbers of my home address. The green bin wants to belong to me. And so he shall.
He wasn’t like the other bins, with their obnoxious bright blue colour and a boring rectangular shape, just deep enough to hold the plastic bottles but not quite deep enough to stop the plastic lids from take-out containers from rolling down the street when the wind picks up. They don’t have a lid. They don’t have bright red locked closures.
Sure, those blue recycling bins do their job. It’s an important job. I have three of them lined up for plastics, cardboard and glass. But I guess they’ve become, well, predictable. There is no excitement in them beyond their function. Also, they make excellent ice-packed coolers. But my green bin would never double as anything other than that which it is: loyal and true to the depths of organic food waste. Sigh.
You know I had to name my green bin, right? I name all the inanimate objects that I am fond of, in part for the sheer pleasure and hilarity of being such a dork, but mostly to drive my beloved husband, the Carpenter, completely insane. It’s a win-win. Thus, green bin was renamed Gregoire Binister, (first name being French to make him exotic; second name distinguished to suggest upper class status for my low class trash).
Every Tuesday morning, at an hour that would otherwise be cruel, I open the front door and find Gregoire Binister in the carport, waiting for me. It makes me happy. I flip up the red latch, toss back the lid and lovingly tie up the compostable liner bag. I don’t mind that it smells like every bad thing I’ve ever smelled in a lifetime. I know that the ick is helping deter the food waste at the landfill. It feels right. My grumpy morning attitude lightens up as I clasp Gregoire’s handle, tip him back, and pull him behind me, leading him down the crumbling asphalt to the end of the driveway. He looks so distinguished. Neat and tidy.
I set him up in his place next to the disorderly, overloaded blue bins (a rowdy pack no matter how you stack them). Then I rush back into the house so as not to have to make eye contact with my neighbours at that ungodly hour.
You don’t have to understand. It’s okay. Maybe trash day is just another day on your calendar. But me? I’m grateful for green bin collection every week improving life in the community I call home.
Let’s do it again next week.