Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garbage, Garbage, Everywhere

Over the past month and a half I've been involved in an intense operation called--"move in girlfriend."  This has involved purchasing, packing, and moving box after box of her possessions and (thank God) just a few pieces of furniture. 

What I discovered during this process is that first of all movers are worth every penny.  On the day we move out of my current apartment, I'm hiring someone.  It also became increasingly clear that while small items are easy to give away, no one seems to want old furniture anymore. 

This truism became painfully clear when I attempted to donate her old mattress as well as an armchair that I no longer wanted. 

I can understand the reluctance of local charities to accept mattress donations, especially with the resurgence of bedbugs.  So even though I brought the mattress to the Salvation Army, I was pretty certain they wouldn't be interested in taking it.  But it wasn't until I tried to find a responsible way to dispose of the mattress that I discovered just how messed up Chicago's garbage collection system really is. 

After nearly a week of searching, no options for recycling or disposing the mattress could be found beyond the obvious--leave it in the alley. 

So that is what I did.  Eventually the mattress and box spring disappeared.  But it was no thanks to a city-wide recycling plan or drop off center.  The Alley Fairies did what our local government seems unwillingly or unable to do.

Now I'm faced with a similar dilemma for my old armchair.  So far I can't find an organization that will come to pick it up and don't plan to drag it to the Salvation Army only to have them tell me they aren't interested.  Could it be alley time again?  Perhaps.  Unlike the mattress, I'm still looking for someone to take it so that it can have a new owner and won't simply fill a suburban dump with more Chicago garbage. 

I have no desire to take away the livelihood of the neighborhood junk man/junk woman but as a former resident of the state of Vermont, which has an excellent recycling system for almost any item imaginable, the garbage disposal system in Chicago makes me sick.

Perhaps when Mayor Emanuel is done privatizing our schools he can focus his attention on the city recycling system.  It will give him a great opportunity to take an old Daley-era idea and claim that it is his own.

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