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26 November 2005

What I'm Thankful For

Maybe you didn't know this.

Portland has quite a few homeless people.

Portland also has recycling centers everywhere.

In fact, Portland has a unique way of taxing for garbage pick-up. Residents are taxed by the bag. It's called the PAYT system, or Pay As You Throw. We can't just buy Hefty or Glad garbage bags - the trash collectors will only pick up the blue city-issued garbage bags that say "Portland" on them. They cost about $1 each.

How many garbage bags do you put out each week?

It adds up, right?

It's a great idea because people correlate waste with cost, which is a good thing. Also, since you also have to pay for anything you bring to the dump, people are encouraged to separate their trash and recycle everything possible. Portland has curbside recycling, so residents use it in order to curb their use of blue city bags. The recycling trucks will pick up paper, plastic (several kinds), glass, cardboard, and aluminum.

Also in Maine, we pay deposits on cans and bottles, so if you collect these and return them to a recycling center, you get that deposit back. We go every Sunday and trade our empties for cash.

Many people are lazy, however, and leave their bottles and cans on the curb for the trucks to pick up. Homeless people take carts from the grocery store and prowl Portland all day long, looking for others' empties.

This is what we saw from our window early on Thanksgiving morning.
Thxgvng Can Man CU

Thxgvng Can Man LS

No matter how broke we've been, it hasn't come to that, and for that, I'm thankful.


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