We’re living in a country in which there’s a very specific procedure for handling one’s household refuse.
I’ve been warned by other expats:
Don’t mess up your trash or your neighbors will talk about you.
These people take trash and recycling very seriously.
I’ve actually woken up at night thinking about our trash.
I certainly don’t want us to be that American family that can’t get with the program on trash collection and WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN OUR COUNTRY?
(You see, where we come from, we simply put any and all trash/recyclables out once a week and for a flat, monthly rate they came and hauled it away. No questions asked.
It could be one bag or the entire contents of one’s basement.)
The little town in which we live here in Luxembourg has a schedule and instructions for what trash you can set out and when.
Look at it, all detailed and color coded.
And all those x’s and arrows?
Some weeks they like to change it up on us.
When we first arrived, we had to register our trash cans with the city.
I’m completely serious.
We were allowed two – one for d'ordures menageres (household trash) and one for dechets organiques (garden and yard waste.)
Then they gave us a little sticker to attach to the can for household trash. This little sticker contains our name, address and a microchip that’s scanned each time it’s picked up.
There’s also a very specific form in which your trash can must be presented: lid opening facing the street and it must be completely closed. Absolutely nothing beyond what fits in that can. If you want to throw away anything large that doesn’t fit in the trash can, you must go to the city office and ask for a sticker to place on the item that you’re throwing away. Then you have to wait until the specific date indicated on the schedule to set it out. Oh, and you have to call them a few days in advance and tell them that there’s going to be a little something extra at the end of your driveway.
The best part about all this? This schedule is only through June.
The whole thing is going to change mid-year.
Anyways, the trash can is weighed and the microchip scanned and your monthly bill based on the weight of your trash.
All glass, paper, plastic and cardboard can be recycled for free.
But they don’t pick up recycled materials, so every other Saturday we have to take it to the parc de recyclage. They sure like people to drive things around themselves over here, don’t they?
I was telling Shawn this week that I really had been worried for nothing and I don’t think any of the neighbors ever talked about us because of our trash.
”Were you worried about people talking about us because we’re doing the trash wrong?”
“I’d be more worried that they were talking about us because you were outside taking a picture of our trash can.”
I’m sure he’s right.
(But it’s for the blog.)