Welcome to the People’s Republic of the City of Austin, department of trash cans, desk of colors.
Thursday is trash pickup day at Emerald Hill.
Steven rolled the big blue and very full trash can to the curb Wednesday evening. Following instructions on the lid, he built a pile of cardboard boxes, all flattened, at least 10 feet away from the can. In fact, he put the can at the foot of the driveway and the pile of cardboard at the other side of the property line, separated by at least 40 feet.
The first garbage trucks rumbled by about 630 am. The motion detector on the Ring doorbell came awake for each one — Steven tuned down the sensitivity. About 3 pm, the last truck of the day pulled up across the street, the crew of two jumped down, they loaded up the 20 paper bags of oak leaves that a neighbor left lining the curb, and drove away.
At 330 pm, Steven called 311 — that’s the number to call on the sticker on the lid of the can — to ask why the trash can and cardboard were still at the curb — “this is our first trash day in the house, we just moved in, we have been paying trash, water, wastewater and electric utilities for months, what did we not do?”
Josh at the call center confirmed the account is active, up to date on payment, and instructed: “please call back after 4 pm and we will schedule a makeup pickup for Friday.”
For the after 4 pm callback, the department scheduled the Friday pickup. Steven also received the Holy Writ — trash is picked up every Thursday using the brown or grey cans only; recyclables are picked up every other Thursday using the blue can only; do you have a brown or grey can? If so, transfer the garbage to that brown or grey can from the blue can, roll that brown or grey can to the curb and we will pick that up this one time on Friday; do you have more garbage than fits in the brown or grey can? If yes, go to the supermarket and purchase an “extra garbage” tag for $4 for each black bag — and you must use a black bag — attach the tag and leave that tagged bag at the curb; if you do not buy the tag at the supermarket you will be charged $8 for each bag.
Steven was bounced to Mari at the desk of many colors. The small brown can is 24 gallons. The largest brown can is 96 gallons. There’s a smaller grey can at 64 gallons. And a 32-gallon can, too. There’s a different monthly charge for each size can.
Steven and Mari arranged to swap the 24 gallon brown can for a 64 gallon grey can.
One day soon, a trash truck will pull up to the house at Emerald Hill, the new can will be rolled up and the small 24 gallon can will be taken away.
Until then, take extra garbage to the curb in a black bag with a note that says “Extra Trash. Per City instructions, we are exchanging the small can for a larger can that has to be delivered.”
And so delivereth the Word of the Trash.