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Garden Refuse Pick Up Redux


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#1 Carey

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:26 AM

We've had a bunch of large pieces of chopped up palm fronds and other branches neatly laid out at the curb (not bagged) for about 10 days now in the hopes that the trash trucks that do that will come by and get it. So far now joy but our location is very central and they cannot miss it.

IS this supposed to be a city service does anybody know? If so, I'm willing to wait them out but maybe it's not in which case I'll have to figure out how to get stuff like this removed now that we don't have a vacant lot next door to hurl it on any more since we bought it and enclosed it.
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#2 GringaErin

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:56 AM

We bag it. They take it with the regular garbage pick up. Seems silly, but oh well.
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#3 CZMDM

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:04 AM

Go to the Palace. When you walk in, go to the right and it is the first door across the room on the left. We have used them a few times. If they can't help or if no one is there try urban development (Desarrollo Urbano).
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#4 morenita

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:05 AM

Or you can call the Palacio 872-9800 rather than go in person.

The few times I just bagged as normal. I wait until I hear the truck coming around 10:00 in the night. I go outside and just smile ask them nicely to take it and offer to help put it in the truck. As soon as I start to pick up a bag they all come and start throwing the bags in the back. They have taken it every time. I find this easier.

Give the guy a small tip ( 50 pesos ) and they will allways pick up what you want.

I do not overfill the bags.
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#5 CZMDM

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:20 AM

It is very difficult to bag Royal Palm fronds and Coco fronds when they are full sized. I just cut up a Royal Palm this morning and the thing was almost 20' long. The one frond would take 3 bags and it would be xsticking out and through the bag. Coco's are smaller, but present the same problem. I think Carey is talking about large debris and not normal leaves or small fronds of Arrica.

I would like to point out that you really should not bag plant debris. Plant debris is obviously bio-degradeable. When you bag it, it adds to the mess at the landfill. If we all put plant debris in plastic bags to take to the fill there would be at least 1 bag per person per year which would yield 100,000 plastic bags that don't necessarily have to be in the dump. The bags also impede the degradation of the plant matter. We live on a very small island. We really need to take care of it.
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#6 morenita

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:33 AM

I agree but I worry much less about biodegradable stuff than I do about all the other trash that could be recycled. There is a young woman who comes down my street every day to pick up plastic bottles. I separate plastic, glass, paper, cardboard etc for recycling. And I educate my neighbors and friends to do the same. And we compost here on my street. I think it would be a good idea to put a deposit on every water bottle sold. If they did that you would see a lot less empty water bottles in the trash. I think there should be a deposit on bottles and cans: glass, plastic and alumninum. I do not buy water in bottles. I refill my own. And do not drink softdrinks or anything else that comes in a plastic bottle.

I found trash bags that are biodegradable (13 Gallons).

Everyone has their own battle to fight. I worry more about the trash that is not biodegradable and could be recycled.
I put out less than a small bag of trash every two weeks. There are some things which can't be composted or easily recycled.

With all the recycling I do, I don't worry too much about my occassional bag of biodegradable material.
I have other things to think about.

If this is your thing I applaud you for it, and will consider it the next time I have a bag of weeds (pulled from in front of my house in the street) that will not go on the compost pile. But until then I will concern myself more with recycling and composting and educating others.

Recycling requires a education approach. You are years ahead of us in the EE.UU.

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#7 nauticab

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 10:41 AM

i would call the dept of ecologia, using the same # morenita posted...they can either transfer you or give you their direct #. i have seen them pick up large yard debris.
please, if you have bags of leaves and a way to move them, fill with a bag and dump in a vacant lot. try to be discreet of course. mike is right on with his comments. i dumped about the equivalent of 15 bags of leaves in the lot next door (i have a mamey and cayomito tree and they drop leaves like crazy). i can't imagine the waste of putting them in bags to have to go thru deterioration before composting.
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#8 CZMDM

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:06 AM

I agree but I worry much less about biodegradable stuff than I do about all the other trash that could be recycled. There is a young woman who comes down my street every day to pick up plastic bottles. I separate plastic, glass, paper, cardboard etc for recycling. And I educate my neighbors and friends to do the same. And we compost here on my street. I think it would be a good idea to put a deposit on every water bottle sold. If they did that you would see a lot less empty water bottles in the trash. I think there should be a deposit on bottles and cans: glass, plastic and alumninum. I do not buy water in bottles. I refill my own. And do not drink softdrinks or anything else that comes in a plastic bottle.

I found trash bags that are biodegradable (13 Gallons).

Everyone has their own battle to fight. I worry more about the trash that is not biodegradable and could be recycled.
I put out less than a small bag of trash every two weeks. There are some things which can't be composted or easily recycled.

With all the recycling I do, I don't worry too much about my occassional bag of biodegradable material.
I have other things to think about.

If this is your thing I applaud you for it, and will consider it the next time I have a bag of weeds (pulled from in front of my house in the street) that will not go on the compost pile. But until then I will concern myself more with recycling and composting and educating others.

Recycling requires a education approach. You are years ahead of us in the EE.UU.

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By putting plant matter in a plastic bag you are in effect making it non-degradable.
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#9 morenita

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:14 AM

I am interested in why that would be. The trash bags I use are biodegradable. They sold them in Walmart the last time I checked. Biodegradable 13 Gallon trash bags. But if others were to follow my example with an ocassional non-biodegradable bag of garden refuse in the process of compacting the trash the bags break. They rarely survive whole and intact. And this material will biodegrade. Depending on how wet it is it will degrade quickly and help to degrade other organic material. Degredation depends on what type of mat. it is. The higher the water content the better. What I put out is fresh cut weeds ( very similar to grass clippings ).

My preference is composting. But sometimes the pile gets too large and gets difficult to keep turning it. It is on those rare occassions that I put a few small bags on the curb to be picked up.

I have read studies of this from curb pickup in EE.UU. but nothing here in Mexico. Earlier bans on curb pickup were biased.

10% of trash in landfills in EE.UU. is organic waste and 2/3 of that was "grass clippings" and the overall effect in the lanfill was positive due to the water content of the material, rapid degaradation, nitrogen content and how it helped to degrade other organic material. The 10% figure was an average because it is higher in the summer and lower in the winter.

As I have said before. I am more concerned about all the non-biodegradable trash going to the landfill. The millions of plastic bottles, etc.

But everyone has their own opinion.

The issue is not as simple as just saying do not bag your "garden refuse". Many cities are working on methane recovery and in that case certain garden waste improves the degradation of other organic mat. But then you have to make sure of your recovery rate. Because methane is a stronger GH gas than carbon dioxide.

Landfill waste is much more complex issue than just a ban on the occassional bag of leaves or weeds. It needs to be treated in it's entirety rather than looking at a small component. It is something I know very little about. There are really smart people who do alot of research on this. But I do enjoy reading about it and doing what little I can.
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#10 Carey

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:35 AM

Well, giant royal palm fronds would be quite the hellish job to bag. They are very difficult to cut up for one thing and they would have to be cut very small to fit in bags and not tear the (biodegradable) plastic. I will call the department of ecology if the stuff isn't picked up in another week or two and report the result.

Thanks for the tips, all
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#11 morenita

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:40 AM

In your case you are correct. I am sorry I was in a rush and only read your headline about "Garden Refuse" and was replying to the other poster who bagged.

You are correct. Yours would be a little difficult. Tie them up with some string. Leave them outside and call the Palacio.
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#12 nauticab

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:12 PM

morenita, if you saw the amount piled outside carey's curb, your note of tie them up with a string would be LOUDLY laughed at. :rolleyes: i saw the pile and it is about 5 ft high and at least 5 ft around. carey i hope the palacio picks it up. very interested in your findings.

biodegradeable bags degrade in about a year's time, or 2. during that year, the bag will be tossed under thousands of other bags, therefore reducing the effectiveness of degrading and take longer. while the stuff inside the bag could have helped make rich dirt in a matter of a couple of months.
grocery store bags are also biodegradeable. i have seen them desintegrate in my hands after 2 yrs of storage. to effectively biodegrade, the bags have to exposed to heat AND sun for a very long time. when covered under a thousand other NON biodegradeable bags, our efforts are all but lost.
now, if we can get people to use cloth diapers, we will make a HUGE impact in our landfills.
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#13 morenita

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:31 PM

I have no idea how much stuff Carey has. I was not suggesting tying it all up. Only to put into bundles, if possible, for the ease of whoever picks it up. But that has very little to do with the topic and is a distraction. The bags I am refering to are 100% biodegradable and made with starches and polymers, and no polyethylene. There are many different brands and not all are the same. It is true that if a landfill is air locked, than no manufacturer could claim that they would biodegrade rapidly.

But my other point is if people really care about this issue, then there are things that would certainly have a greater impact than diapers and garden waste.

A Canadian study showed that 35% of landfill waste is paper and cardboard, 35% solid waste (glass,metal,plastic), 25% kitchen waste, 4% yard waste, and 1% diapers.

I am more concerned about the other 95% (most of which can be recycled or composted) than the 5% which makes up garden waste and diapers

But choose your own issue.

And if you have ever been to a land fill. When garden waste is put into a plastic bag in pristine condition, and then thrown in the back of a trash truck and compacted, it rarely survives intact. They are broken up by this process.

I am certainly no expert on this and there are people much smarter than I am who are researching solutions. I only know what I have read about it. Which is not that much. The average 68 KG adult will throw away 40,825 KG of trash. I do what I can to reduce my 95%.

Talk all you want about the 5%. While beneficial does not concern me so much.
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#14 CZMDM

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:44 PM

I know I am not going to make my point with you, but..................I was born in the midwest. We didn't have a thousand pounds or more of plant matter per year to get rid of. Nauticab is correct about the degradation of bio-degradable bags in a landfill. There is no need to put hundreds of thousands of any type of bags in the landfill needlessly. And finally a Canadian report is inappropriate here. The island is a completely different eco-system. Problems here are different. Plants here have nothing in common with plants in the North.
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#15 morenita

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:06 PM

Mike I agree with you. You made your point with me about a few bags. That is why I compost most everything. But I don't think you are getting my point.

IT IS A DROP IN THE BUCKET

There is not much available in terms of landfill statistics here. My point is garden waste is a very small percentage of the trash. Many studies in the past were skewed because they measured trash by weight (which you are also doing). Plants and grass depending on the time can be 90% water. So some studies have concluded that this type of waste in volume represents less than 2% of waste . But all these numbers are just estimates.

My point still is that garden waste and the bags that go with it, which drew all the criticism, is a very small percentage of overall trash and diapers are less than 1% unless you read the studies done by the cloth diaper industry ( which are not accurate). I agree limiting those will help. But I am more concerned with the other 95% of the trash in the lanfill. You choose your battles I will choose mine.

I compost almost all of my yard waste and all my kitchen waste.

I have only thrown out a few rare bags of yard waste. And these bags do break up after being compacted by the trash truck and if what is inside gets air to it then it will biodegrade. The problem is not as much what you are putting in the landfill as to the type and design of the landfill. Airlocked vs. non airlocked.

YES we need to take care of our small island. And this is my country and I care about the future of it.

Bottom line you are talking about 5% I am refering to the other 95% of the trash in the landfill.

If we could eliminate or significantly reduce through composting and recycling the 95% of the trash that goes into the landfill. Than the 5% or so of plants and diapers going into the landfill would have very little effect.

I know someone is going to come back with the 300 years that diapers are in the landfill. jajajaja

Population growth has consequences.

Just because you use cloth diapers and eliminate the 1% to 2% of waste in a landfill does not mean there are not other environmental affects. Cloth diapers can have up to two times more impact on the environment. Hemp or bamboo is less. Cloth diapers use fewer raw materials and obviously less solid waste. But cotton uses more chemicals and pesticides (25% of total pesticides)than any other crop. Cloth diapers use more water, more energy, produce more atmospheric emmissions and waste water and detergents, chemicals and bleaches. You may remove waste from the landfill but you create a host of other environmental problems to deal with. Neither is a good solution. But as long as people have babies this problem will remain with us. Interesting that the poorer the country the faster children are trained to use a toilet.

There is quite a bit of research being done on improving the disposable diaper and I believe this will be the solution. Ones that biodegrade in the worst conditions within in 10 years and in perfect conditions in two years. Another is a disolveable inner liner which can be flushed down the toilet to be used with a reusable outer liner. I think this may have the most promise. Hopefully before the time I decide to have children.

Or to use the disposable diapers to make electricity. Better yet!

Diapers are a byproduct of having children. But in a predominately Catholic country that is not going to slow down any time soon. With cloth diapers you solve a couple of problems and you create others. That is just the way it is. And reducing the waste in a landfill by 1% to 2% is hardly a "HUGE impact in our landfills". This myth is pretty much spread by the manufacturers of cloth diapers and those who sell them. It will make a vey small difference, but with unintended consequences.
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#16 mslf500

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:50 PM

This is very interesting reading. I live in downtown Richmond and we compost everything, leaves, old veggies, liriope clippings, grass, you name it. We put it in our postage size garden. When the pile gets a little behind in decomposing, I run over it with a beater push mower to mulch it. We dump our fireplace ashes in it as well.

We have two other secret ingredients. We get a lot of coffee grounds from Starbucks (50-60 gallons over the course of the season) and earthworms. I bought a pound of earthworms and those suckers eat anything. One of my rental tenants here left behind a multi-tier earthworm bin/composter. I dropped about 20 worms in the bin last fall and put it in my basement. I added left over scraps from our kitchen greens and leaves over the winter. Last weekend I emptied it and got maybe a thousand worms for the garden.

I kid you not, our tomato plants are easily 8' tall.
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#17 morenita

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:00 PM

That is excellent. I have read about this coffee ground and worms thing. I do read alot about composting because I compost all of my kitchen waste and my neighbors add to the pile as well. It has been estimated that kitchen waste is anywhere from 25% to 50% of waste in landfills. I have no proof to back it up. But judging from how much fruit and vegetables I eat and how much I put on the compost pile every day. My guess is it is a very high pecentage here. When you include the food thrown away by hotels and restaurants it may be higher.

Personally rather than debating the occcassional bags from garden waste. I would like to see the city to work on better landfill design, recycling, composting, incinerators, methane gas capturing,bottle deposits, etc. I have seen the returnable coca cola bottles here in some tiendas. I don't drink softdrinks so I never look to closely. But when I have bought it for friends I bought the returnable type.

When Juan Carlos was looking at what to do to solve the landfill problem. They were looking at two solutions. One was to get an investor for a plant to convert trash into electricity the other was to contract it to a private company. Guess which way they went. Those of us who care and can speak out to our politicians but it takes more than a few to make a difference. I have discussed all these ideas with dept of Ecologia.

I think this debate about a small ammount of yard waste and some bags and diapers is much less productive. I love a good debate. But it just does not have much of an affect overall.
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#18 mstevens

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:43 PM

The answer is... chickens.

They won't eat palm fronds, but they'll eat darned near anything else that runs slower than they do.

Where we live, you personally haul everything you throw away to the dump. They watch like a hawk to ensure nothing recyclable goes in the trash and that everything recyclable is properly sorted. The town gets some money for the recyclables and has to pay to get rid of trash. We just had Town Meeting a few days ago, where every penny in the budget is argued over. I mean things like new brake pads for the police cruisers - yea or nay?. These are not people who are going to pay extra to deal with your trash. Trash pickup? Ha! The trash will sit there in the barn as long as we let it, but a minimum of a couple of days since the dump isn't open daily. I'm happier when the family of skunks stays in the barn basement rather than upstairs rummaging through the garbage. BTW, if you ever want to hobnob with a future President, I guarantee you can at a small-town New Hampshire dump during primary season - it's the social center of town.

Being personally responsible for all our trash has had a very significant effect on us. We'll avoid buying stuff with unnecessary packaging and argue about who, if we get pizza, is going to have to haul the box to the dump. The 6 chickens really do very substantially reduce the amount of table scraps we throw away. Plus they turn it into delicious eggs.
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#19 morenita

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:55 PM

The answer is... chickens.

I love it Doctor.

And rabbits for weed control. Or a goat.
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#20 nauticab

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 10:24 PM

morenita, with all due respect, you must learn to read and understand "smileys". i was not laughing at anyone. you took that all wrong which is why i put the smiley there, so you would know it was in jest. so please, before you jump the gun again, read with care.

and cloth diapers... i will touch on this again as your research on the topic is not up to date. new cloth diapers do NOT use bleach, little water, hang dry in no time, etc. the average newborn to 6 month old will use about 7 diapers a day. that's 200 diapers a month or 2400 diapers in a year. my son used 10 cloth diapers in the year and a 10 months he used them. cloth diapers that we washed daily in a bucket, scrubbed in the batea with less than a gallon of water, and air dried.
2000-2400 diapers for 1 yr for 1 child, multiply by the thousands of babies born on our little island of fertility and try to tell me that does NOT make a major impact in our landfills. then touch on the subject of people leaving their trash on the street for the dogs to get to and finding dirty diapers everywhere. gross.
many of them are not even cloth, but instead made of polar fleece, which as you know, is often made of recycled plastic bottles.
we have a working recycling facility. if they don't come to you, they will take all your recyclables at the gate with no questions. i fill giant dog food bags with the bottles and cardboard and take it about once a month. there is much room for improvement but small steps are being taken, like the large plastic bins placed in a few colonias for recycling.
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