Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Fine Day at the Dump

This is something of a misnomer, but I liked the alliteration of the two "Ds" as opposed to a truer description "A Fine Day at the Transfer Station."

Taken Mar. 3, 2003, Asilomar. I’m using this picture because Facebook
 creates the thumbnail for a blog link from the 1st picture in the blog.
This is in keeping as a March photo, and much prettier than what became #2.

And when yours truly tries to do a blog of daily living, sometimes the most exciting event of the day is a trip to the dump. It happens seldom enough to remain fresh among my activities.

I've been contemplating this trip for a couple of weeks. It’s prompted when my trash compactor is full and if I try to compact an ounce more, I won’t be able to lift it over the tailgate into the truck. A second motivating force used to be the, er, odor of used cat litter, despite double and triple bagging. I think the formulation of the litter must be different, because this hasn’t been so much of an issue lately, but there still is a garage space issue.

It’s only open Wednesdays and Saturdays. Last Saturday, I think I was deep into My March Writing Month (MyMaWriMo) and couldn’t stir myself out to get ready. Wednesday I had my nails done midday, not enough time for a morning trip, and who wants to sling heavy sacks with new nails? Next week, rain is predicted, so today it had to be.

First these were for eating, then for making banana bread,
then for the compost pile and any animals interested.
Now it’s a leathery artifact on its way to the dump.
I'd never seen a dehydrated banana.

The load looks small here, not so small in the garage.
(Of course, it’s competing there with an over-supply of recycles.)

It was warm enough today to head out with just a vest and not a heavy jacket. The brilliant clear day was clouding over a little by the time I hit the road at 11:30. It’s a pretty trip up a narrow road through pine and oak forest, with residences scattered along the way. There’s quite a bit of pickup truck traffic on dump day, but the big trash collection trucks don’t seem to be here today, so you must stick to the right around all the corners. It’s probably not as far up there as it feels like.

Entering the transfer station

This was a landfill, once upon a time. For example, when we moved up here in 1989. I think a landfill is a step up from a just-plain-dump in its management. I used to know that stuff, but years ago, the environmental impact of the landfills in the County on the water supply was deemed unacceptable. The landfills were closed and it’s been a struggle to completely stem leakage from them. Law suit time. I read about it only sporadically.

From the users' standpoint, we now have transfer stations. There is some effort to intercept recyclables in the waste stream, because of mandates that the overall amount of trash must be reduced. The transfer stations then transfer the waste somewhere far away. There was a contract with a place in Nevada, but I’m not sure whether that is still the destination. (This is not a research project, just a trip to the du-, um, transfer station.)

Weighing in . . .

"I’m taking pictures for my blog about my day at the dump."
"It’s the most exciting thing I’m doing today."   (I forgot the adrenalin rush of the hour-long bone-density-pill routine immediately on arising for the day. No photos.)
"Are you going to make us look dump-y?"
"No. You look very nice."  (Smile.)

I pull in, and back up onto a platform beside a hole in the ground, which is really a big container on a lower level that will be hauled off when filled.


"The kid" unloads my stuff in less than a minute.

I barely had time to shoot a few photos of the panorama before the next guy arrives to unload a giant old-style TV, probably still working and re-available, or it would have gone into the electronic waste containers. I bet he has a new wall-to-wall flat screen.


"This bathroom is too 80s. And that range . . ."

Almost on top of the world

The old landfill was capped so it’s now the high point. Just guessing, but I believe the pipes sticking up vent any gases generated by the processes below. (That may be the old technology I'm remembering, and this is something new.)

A light breeze has come up. It’s nothing like a dump or an old landfill, no roaring of bulldozers, no scent of decaying garbage, no paper and plastic debris whipping up in the breeze, nor sea gulls squawking. Dust, yes. Leaves and pine needles, yes. Rows of containers in the yard neatly lined up. Separate container spaces for the electronic waste, and for used oil. Little collections of re-purposable items. There’s still traffic through the neighborhood, but I’d say a transfer station is a much nicer neighbor than a landfill.

It all went too fast to take more pictures. There’s a certain competition to get on the scales without waiting in line. I got out in the knick of time, as I encountered a steady upward flow of traffic on the road down.

The trip back down the hill.

Yesterday I had a haircut. I forgot my camera.  ;-)

See you soon.



  1. This is pretty funny....hard to write your 10,000 words a day when you only have a trip to the dump (uh, transfer station). When you go the big town transfer station, it is really exciting with all those cars/trucks coming in....
    I had a much more exciting day- doing taxes :)

    1. I think our little mountain-top transfer station is much nicer. And there's "the kid" to unload for me in deference to my "old lady" status.

  2. It's funny that they were concerned about looking bad and asked questions about what you were photographing. Only you could make such an outing sound like an enjoyable activity. I may visit our dump myself.