I don’t make resolutions at New Year’s. I don’t want to hold myself to some impossible level of behavior. But every year I say I will try to be patient with the behavior of others.
Well, so much for that.
If you live in Morris Plains you might have noticed you haven’t had recycling picked up in quite some time.
That is because New Year’s Day fell on a Tuesday.
This may be the first time people realize an interesting fact involving our friends at the Morris County MUA, which sends out the trucks to get our recycling every other Tuesday: If there is some reason why the trucks can't go out - say, a major snowstorm, there is no makeup day for recycling pickup.
This month we've learned a Tuesday holiday is another of the reasons.
So if you put the boxes and wrappers from the stuff you got at Christmas plus soda bottles, laundry detergent boxes and all the other stuff you're told is recyclable out after New Year’s Day, doing your bit for the environment, you were out of luck.
The next recycling pickup is Jan. 15. For those of you who have a calendar - perhaps the free one given everyone by the Community of Caring the other week - that’s a full month since the last recycling pickup.
And the Morris County freeholders wonder why recycling is down county-wide.
It’s not like they aren’t trying to make it easier for us. They went to what is called “single-stream” recycling - everything in one bucket. No more separating bottles from newspapers.
This means one truck picks up everything rather than the two that used to come by every other week.
This is good - in theory.
When garbage collection day - Monday and Thursday - falls on a holiday, the private company that services Morris Plains sends the trucks out the next day to get our trash as well as that of the towns with collection days on Tuesday or Friday. No one wants garbage piling up.
That’s obviously not the case with recycling. Letting it pile up at the curb to be blown about by the prevailing wind is OK, to the county. Or maybe those county workers who collect the recycling have such hard schedules that fitting us in with the towns with Wednesday recycling would make their days unbearable.
I will leave it to others to get the county’s side on why it is apparently ok for recycling to pile up for a month so its collectors don’t have to work too hard.
I have another beef with MCMUA - the lack of consistency. Some recycling days the truck comes by before dawn, and those of us planning to put the stuff out after sunrise have to rush down in robe and slippers to get the pail out in time. Some days the trucks come late in the morning or in the afternoon (just because you’ve made sure to get the pail out the night before to avoid the first scenario).
The last recycling pickup day, in mid-December, the truck didn’t come to my street at all.
It was only after a couple of angry phone calls to MCMUA's main number that I got a call back from the secretary in the dispatcher’s office. Was it my house or the whole street? That's funny, the driver's log showed that street had been done.
She assured me the truck would be out the next morning and, in future, to please call her so she could get her boss on the case. Both he and the truck duly arrived the next morning.
That number is 973-659-3493, by the way. You’re welcome.
My friends in West Orange get recycling pickup every week, one week for bottles, the next for paper goods. West Orange is in Essex County. I don't know what happens if pickup day falls on a holiday.
Luckily for Morris Plains, those who didn’t get angry enough to put their stuff into garbage bags and leave them for the private carters to pick up can go to the big recycling center at the edge of town. There were quite a lot of people joining me Saturday, the one day a week it is open, to empty our pails.
That so many were there to dump our recycling shows we want to help the environment. We want to recycle. We want to be good people, to do the right thing. And we're lucky - in many places people must bring their recycling and their trash to "transfer stations" - aka the dump - every week. They get no curbside pickup whatsoever.
But in Morris Plains (at least for now) we do, and we don’t want to be dumped on by the county to which we pay our taxes for services like recycling.