We know that we can suffer from broken record-ism here at Lost in Montgomery. On occasion we find topics like recycling and just keep going on and on about them to the chagrin of our loyal corps of readers who tune in, not for leftist tree-hugging political harangue, but for updates on the latest issue of Dixie Living or Montgomery Parents. Well, so be it. If you’re looking for inspirational craft tips or ways to combine your loves of scrapbooking, coupon-cutting, and Jesus, there’s plenty to be had on the rest of the Alabama Internets.
We’ve said it before: Montgomery’s “recycling program” is a joke. We used to have curbside pickup, but nobody used it and very little of it was actually recycled. So instead, the Mayor proposed that the city adopt a long-term strategy where its waste products would be dealt with by a bouncy castle made of Moon Pies, half a dozen used Slinkys attached to industrial strength flame throwers, and the original Broadway cast of Phantom of the Opera a “plasma plant.”
While we’re busy holding our breath(s) for the end of the one year “feasibility study” that may or may not result in a multi-year program to build this facility that may or may not work, we still have stuff to recycle. We have put off (until now) a trip to the city’s recycling drop-off points for a few reasons. First, we are fortunate that a good fairy takes some of our recycling to Troy — a nearby city much smaller than ours which still manages to have a curbside recycling program without going broke. Second, we were pretty mad that the city now only takes cardboard and paper – no more plastic recycling at city facilities. Also, we have a storage shed.
However, with a whole spate of unexpected home repair involving things arriving at our house in preposterously large boxes, we decided to hit our local city drop-off point. It is at Bellingrath Junior High. Here is what it looks like.
Seriously. It’s an open air bin. Unclear on why this requires special “recycling hours” only available certain times of the week for a few weeks out of the month. And in the middle of the day, it was still a little sketchy, what with tons of broken windows, litter, and gang graffiti nearby.
On Sunday we had to make a trip to Birmingham. We loaded the trunk of the car with glass (marginally reducing our storage room) and went by the Alabama Environmental Council recycling facility. AEC are good people doing good work in a state where caring about the environment is usually seen as a character failing or a pastime for the rich, white, and indolent. Also, the AEC recycling facility is awesome. Also it takes glass – one of only two places in the state we’re aware of (and we have not yet visited the place in Auburn we’ve been told about).
It’s easy to look at these pictures and do the usual Montgomery-bashing thing. Like the waitress who served us our lunch recently – when we told her we were from Montgomery, her reaction was basically the same as if we had told her that we’d just finished eating our own poop. We are unwilling to join the fatalists murmuring, “oh, that’s just so Montgomery” after every municipal face-plant and absurd crime spree. Hell, at least we didn’t lose our shirt playing roulette getting a sewage treatment plant. And the “That’s so Montgomery” strategy is too often deployed as a way to forgive any number of municipal failings and mishaps (not to mention racism).
But seriously. Why can’t we just have a recycling program that works like other cities? Why do we have to go to Birmingham to recycle our glass? And why, if our current strategy is “do it yourself because we aren’t going to pick it up from your curb,” can’t we figure out something better than the arbitrarily time-limited set of drop-off locations scattered across the city?