What bin do we use for politicians?

Our new recycling bin gets rolled out to the street tonight for the first time. It’s the size of our first apartment. What a ridiculous legacy for David Miller, mayor of all the people. Later in the year arrives another equally capacious contraption, this one for garbage. Finding a place to put that monstrosity should be fun.

I’m a fan of recycling. I’ve been composting since I was a small boy. Look up my listing in the 1989 Who’s Who and you’ll see composting listed as a recreation along with country walks. For years I’ve been separating eggshells, coffee grounds, carrot scrapings, why I even went so far as to remove the Dole labels from the banana peels knowing that they take a thousand years to disintegrate. (Are you reading this, G2?)

Then one day last month, I happened to be in the garden when I heard the garbage truck come. I thought, well, I’ll go and bring in my empty green bin. I got there in time to watch the garbage man dump the contents of the green bin into the open maw of the vehicle where all the bagged garbage went. There wasn’t even the slightest attempt to fool me that something special was happening to all my careful sorting.

When we lived in Washington, D.C., the city launched recycling of newspapers. Months passed before the Washington Post discovered the papers weren’t being recycled at all, they were just being dumped in a pit. I thought, oh well, that government is corrupt. The City of Toronto is worse; it’s incompetent.

Mayor Miller blew onto the scene in 2003 with such promise but he’s no better a leader than the embarrassing Mel Lastman or, for that matter, William Dennison from the 1960s. It was Dennison who once met with an African leader, signed a document, and presented him with the pen, announcing, “This is a ball point pen.” The visiting dignitary informed Dennison he was familiar with the device from his time at Oxford.

Mayor Miller, this is my bag of garbage. Do with it what you will.

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