A little anecdote that illustrates, I hope, how differently some things we take for granted are approached here. I was standing at the University Shuttle Bus stop a couple of mornings ago, which is in front of the local equivalent of a 7-11.
Piled on the edge of the curb was a mountain of garbage. This presumably was the detritus for a number of shops and f–k-hotels and restaurants and such in the immediate vicinity over the last day or two. Garbage collection here is not funded by taxes or anything of the kind – it’s user-paid. In order to have your garbage collected, you have to buy extremely expensive garbage bags which you then stuff to their absolute limit, and put on the street for some poor bastards to pick up. There are no dumpsters.
So, I was standing there, and the garbage truck pulled up. Not unlike what one might see in Canada or America or Australia, with the requisite couple of guys with wiry, ropy-veined forearms hanging off the back.Where it diverged from the expected is that they didn’t just hurl the bags into the back, they sorted it! They made sure all the cans went into can bags, and *shudder* organic stuff into the organic bags, and so on. After it had all been sorted, the driver came over with a large whisk broom, swept the leftover detritus into the gutter, and off they went, presumably to the next reeking pile.
Labor is very very cheap here. And there’s not a lot of room for landfills chockablock with random crap. It makes sense, but it’s just….that….different enough to make you think twice.