Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

No Dumping

Posted on | July 18, 2010 | 5 Comments

Don’t do this.


It breaks about 20 regulations, ordinances and, maybe, even commandments.

I know what you’re thinking.  What else do you do with the debris you collect from the back pasture except load it into the truck, strap it down, and haul it to the dump?

That’s the problem.  There is no dump.

Oh, there are solid waste convenience centers (“Convenience” is used loosely in this term.  Very loosely.), recycling drop-off sites, and landfills.  But the word “dump” is no longer appropriate for modern trash vernacular.  Because there is no dumping.  There may be sorting, recycling, permitting and tipping.  There may even be begging.  But there is absolutely no “dumping”.

I discovered this when I arrived at my local solid waste convenience center to find it closed.  According to the sign, it’s now only open on Tuesday and Saturday.  Wow.  That’s convenient.

The sign also said “No dumping.”  Which I thought was ironic, since it was, after all, a dump.  But it’s not ironic.  It is the cold hard truth.  I know this because I drove 20 miles to the next closest solid waste convenience center in a neighboring city.

I know what you’re thinking (it’s scary how I always know what you’re thinking, right?).  Who drives 20 miles to go to the dump?

Well, lucky for me I had to pick up Big from summer camp in the city anyway.  Since the truck was already loaded I figured I’d just stop by the city dump after I picked him up.  Which was not lucky for him.   Because a 10 year old boy does not like it when his mother pulls up in a dirty work shirt, farm boots, and a truck full of trash to pick him up from camp.  It’s not cool.  As a matter of fact, on a scale of 1 to 10 for coolness it reaches about -48.

I just know that boy is going to grow up, live in a townhouse, have a goldfish, and tell heartrending stories about his humiliating childhood on a farm.  Is this what the parenting experts mean about having a lifelong influence on your children?  Just wondering.

Anyhoo, after negotiating Big’s Embarrassing Moment, we arrived at the city solid waste convenience center to find that it was also closed.  According to the sign, it is only open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Which made me curious about a lot of things.  Like, do the people writing the signs really know the definition of “convenience?”  And what do they have against Thursdays??  And how much money has the county spent on signs that say “No Dumping” to post at the local dump sites??

But this solid waste convenience site had an additional sign.  This sign directed citizens to a landfill further down the road.  Jackpot!  The landfill sounded like just the place for a truck full of trash.  We pulled off happily.  Well, relatively happy, as Big was still hiding under the dashboard.

Anyhoo, we arrived at the landfill.  Or at least the sign said it was the landfill.  I thought for a minute it was a maximum security prison.  Because there was a gate.  With barbed wire.  And a guard shack.  With guards.  And signage covered with laws, regulations, restrictions, and ordinances that would take all day to read.  Which is about how much time I had while waiting in line for the trucks in front of me to be authorized to pass the guard shack.  Which was a shame.  Because according to the signs I was not about to be authorized to enter.

My load was not covered with a tarp.  Bad. (Sign included statute and section of state law that requires tarps.)

Apparently, I had mixed clean wood and waste wood together.  Bad. (Sign included a 200 word description of clean and waste wood.)

I had broken plastic items that could possibly be recycled.  Bad. (Sign included a 200 word description of the types, sizes, colors, and number labels of plastic items that can and cannot be recycled)

I had no intention of applying for a permit.  Bad.  (Sign included the convoluted steps for requesting and obtaining a permit, none of which could be done at that location.)

I did not have any cash for tipping.  Bad.  (Sign delineated the “Tipping fee schedule” which is what it cost to leave the items in the back of your truck at the landfill.  This is a mandatory fee, not a requested one.  Which makes me think the sign writers also do not know the definition of “tipping.”)

However, there were no signs banning the pretense of stupidity or begging for trash to be accepted.  Which is exactly what I did when I finally got the green light (Literally, the green light.  There was a stop light set back from the entrance with a sign announcing you could not progress until the light was green.  I am thinking this is more security than there is at the border, folks.  How ’bout you?).  I smiled very big, tilted my head like a sweet, confused puppy and said,

“Hey, is there where you bring trash, y’all?”

Guess what?  People before me have tried to get their trash into the landfill by pretending to be stupid.  The guards are immune to the stupidity defense.  They will not let you and your truck of trash enter the landfill.

Commence the begging.

Begging will not gain you entrance to the magical world of the landfill, either.  No, these guards are far too tricky to be overcome by the plight of a mother and her humiliated son, doomed to wander the roads in search of safe passage for her trash.  But it will earn you a description of the local solid waste convenience centers, their convenient locations, and when they are conveniently open for you to conveniently sort through your trash, and place it in the conveniently numbered receptacles and recycling bins.  Remember: if the gates are closed, there is No Dumping.

Yeah, no kidding.

So, I returned 2 days later to my local solid waste convenience center when it was finally open.  I received a warning about the fact that my items were not covered by a tarp and, therefore, were a  hazard to other drivers if they fell out.  I refrained from pointing out the 20 bungees cords securing my trash.  I also refrained from mentioning that if I didn’t have to drive all over the county looking for an open dump, it would not be such a road hazard.

I even refrained from rolling my eyes when the  trash attendant instructed me to check the bottom of the broken plastic transplant pots for the proper recycling numbers, which, of course they didn’t have.  It would be nice if the recycling of plastic planters was up to speed with things like, say, water bottles and shampoo bottles.  But I’m betting the environmentalists in charge of recycling labels have been distracted by the zillion pounds of oil leaking into the Earth’s oceans.  Just a guess.

So I sorted and recycled and neatly placed my items in the numbered receptacles.  And I returned home to find my neighbor burning his trash in a barrel in his back yard.  Which is illegal.  But is, as it turns out, convenient in the true meaning of the word.  Go figure.


5 Responses to “No Dumping”

  1. kmmykat
    July 19th, 2010 @ 4:43 am

    Love it! FYI, It’s clear that the real goal of the environmentalists is to reduce the size of our landfills by making it impossible to ever actually take anything to them! See how simple waste management really is??

    Great to see you back this morning!

  2. Farmer Sharon
    July 19th, 2010 @ 6:46 am

    Always good to hear about how our “simple” farm living can be made so complicated…

  3. Jennifer
    July 19th, 2010 @ 4:44 pm

    Our tax dollars at work – not!! And the government does not make anything convenient.

  4. Tanya
    July 21st, 2010 @ 6:06 pm

    I had the same experience at the same 2 dumps back in Feb. I drove all over town with a old and dirty guy that I barely knew… only to find the same thing you did. Great story….

  5. Jenn
    October 17th, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

    Lived in the country my whole life. Yard waste is just an excuse to drink beer and have a bonfire (permit be damned)!

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