Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This orange was probably not dropped by a human but by a tree. If nobody's going to eat this item of delectability, Pasadena Department of Public Works Street Maintenance and Integrated Waste Management has a plan for it.

It cannot go into the bin on the right. That bin is for yard waste recycling. Public Works will have you know, fruit is not yard waste. Neither is dirt, your garden hose, nor your dog's art work. (Here at PDP dog waste is called "turdets," a word coined here by the witty, charming and thoughtful Dina.)

The orange can't go in the bin with the blue lid, either. That bin is for household recycling. Did you know that in Pasadena, "the more you recycle the less you pay"? We can recycle all kinds of stuff but not everything, so we have to educate ourselves. The city sends out an instructional flier at the end of each year. I keep it on the fridge and refer to it, to make sure I'm not throwing the wrong stuff into the bin. You can also check the website.

This family's doing a good job of recycling. The two biggest bins are recycling bins. The wayward orange goes in the smallest bin, the garbage bin. Yep, the orange is waste.

Unless somebody eats it. Squirrel? Skunk? Possum? Anybody?


Boise Diva said...

Wow - garbage is so complicated. But in a good way.

USelaine said...

Now if they would just make them with quieter wheels, Wednesday morning would be much improved.

Laurie said...

Oranges aren't yard waste? What if you have an orange tree in your yard?

Ken said...

Don't forget about composting. That orange would do wonders for your garden after it has had a chance to compost.

BernieMan said...

Petrea, are you okay? You last couple photos have been taken from, well, a low point on the earth. Have you been eating properly? Wine in the morning? Extra gravity where you live? Or do you just keep dropping your camera …?

Miss Havisham said...

I put my cans out today and then read the schedule for pick-up this week, and it's tomorrow. I have caused an unsightly situation on my street. Banishment cannot be far away.

Anonymous said...

Do the Pasadena trucks have a poster with the lonely tearful trash bin begging you, the bin owner, not to leave him/her on the streets between pick-ups? I can relate, I feel their pain.

BernieMan said...

Miss H: All banishment is far away, unless you're G.W. Bush after the helicopter leaves the White House lawn.

Katie said...

Wow, that's quite some system! In my county there's a new recycling program -- food scraps, including pizza boxes and other food-related paper, can go in the green yard waste bin. Too bad I live in an apartment, and we don't have a green bin, so I can't participate. Most of what I throw away is compostible food items. Have you thought about getting a little composting bin like Ken suggests?

marley said...

I like fresh orange, but I think I'll pass on this one.

It seems stupid that organic waste like this isn't garden waste. Rubbish (excuse the pun!)

Kris said...

I’ll have a crack at it.

We have two bins here in Hobart, a recycling bin and a rubbish bin. I know that others have three, with another for organic waste.

Anonymous said...

Well, I wonder if the city plan for "fallen" fruit includes giving it to restaurants.

Petreea, weren't we served fruit/oranges for lunch today at the Cafe....?
No! Erase that thought.

That reminds me: i gotta finish my salad.

pasadenapio said...

The City of Pasadena offers $40 compost bins year-round for Pasadena residents. Also, we'll have them for sale Saturday, Sept. 20, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Farmers Market near Pasadena High School. Email or call (626) 744-4721 for more info.

Anonymous said...

I was just thinkin 15sec ago: if Ann de PIO sees this post or my comment, she'll probably respond.

Right on time. Big sister is watching!

Christie said...

What do you call those who only eat things that have fallen from plants and trees? They would enjoy it!

We have limited recycling here, but I am thankful for what we do have. I wish that they would add the plastic 5s and 6s, but maybe someday!

USelaine said...

Somewhere in the fogpit that is my brain, there's a factoid bumping into things, saying only non-commercial varieties of oranges are allowed as street trees, so people won't eat 'em, and will have to buy oranges from The Man.

Bernieman, what have you done with K.?!

Petrea said...

Welcome, Boise Diva!

Good point, usE.

Laurie, you still have to either eat 'em, compost 'em or put 'em in the garbage. In Pasadena, that is. I don't know about South Pas.

Right, Ken, and you would know. Ken's got the finest compost heap I've ever seen. (Yes, I've seen good ones.)

Bernie, I was trying to make a post out of garbage so I had to do something.

Holiday week, Miss H. If they banish you, you'll have to go live in Glendale.

PA, I don't know what the trucks look like. I'm never up that early.

Katie, Ken has a magnificent yard and a better compost heap than I can hope for. I'm going to try the kind that Pasadena PIO mentions.

It would make sense, Marley. Except I think they use the garden waste for mulch. Not sure about that point. Does anyone know?

Kris, it's good know know recycling's happening down under.

C.O.! We have health laws!

PasadenaPIO, thanks for the info. I've seen these bins and they're very manageable for the uninitiated (like me). I don't know what to do with the compost once it's cooked, but that will be step two.

Christie I've forgotten the word but I know who you mean.

USElaine, I hope you're incorrect. That's nasty.

Yeah, what happened to the K?

Kelly said...

I really love this shot, Petrea, and the narrative was terrific. I wonder, since it can be composted, why it isn't yard waste?

Laurie said...

I wonder if Los ANgeles has similar rules. WHen we lived in West LA, I always threw the rotting grapefruit we didn't eat right in with the yard waste. Same with all the blackberries we didn't get to.

And now I sound like a horrible person who wastes food.

D.C. Confidential said...

Or, you could do what a friend of mine who use to live in Altadena did. You could start a compost bin. The orange would love that!

Petrea said...

See above, Kelly. I think they make the branches, clippings, etc. into mulch.

Laurie, I'm laughing.

DC--I'll be in line to get one at the farmer's market on the 20th.

Ch√Ęteau-Gontierdailyphoto said...

Interresting post about a problem we are tryinf to solve everywhere.

Dina said...

Love your worm's eye view of the scene. Gee, Israel should be so advanced in recycling...
Don't know what animal would eat oranges. At the monastery where I worked in the organic garden we did not put citrus in the compost; takes too long to break down.
Hahaha, enjoying my claim to fame coining scatology word. LOL

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pics.

Actually, the pay as you throw moniker is a bit of a misnomer. If I understand the setup correctly, what using the yard and recycling bins allows you to do is throw away less in the main trash bin, thus allowing you to have a smaller one. While this can save you money, it only does so if you fill up that smaller one. In other words, if you only ever fill your main trash bin halfway with normal trash, whether you put all your recyclables in the main bin or their proper place will have no impact on your refuse bill. It will however debit from your account with the karma gods if you choose the former..

Even more oddly, if you only put out your containers every other week you will still pay the same amount.

The suggested solution seems to get a main trash bin that is about exactly the the amount of trash you generate in a week.

I've just bought a house in Pasadena and have been trying to figure this stuff out... :-)

Petrea said...

Hee hee, Anonymous. I never expect to get comments on these old posts, but I'm glad for it.

You pay rental on the trash bin and the smaller one is a little cheaper, that's all.

But here's the weird thing: if you call the City of Pasadena it's highly likely you will get a human on the phone, and that human will either know the answer to your question or find someone who does.

After living in LA for 17 years I still haven't gotten used to that. I know, I know, it's bizarre. Welcome to Pasadena.

Anonymous said...

Hi Petrea, thanks for responding, and for the welcome. Yes, I finally contacted the city directly and got the information from a human.. :-) It would have been nice to have had the specifics on the city's trash web page or in the brochure they mail out. But then I guess I wouldn't have had the opportunity of a personal interaction.. :-)