Taking Out the Garbage.

Posted on March 29, 2013


   To update the latest tempest in a recycled teapot in Ward 9, I needed more information.   There seemed to be gaps in the information provided on the four pages of regulations for Solid Waste Removal  supplied by the Kingston BPW. 

       Monday came and the Garbage Police got their “dumper”–my elderly neighbor across the street, who regularly adds her trash to mine, particularly if it has chicken bones in it.   The squirrels and skunk tear the bag open and since she has no fence, the contents go all over her yard.   Oddly enough, I couldn’t find anywhere a requirement that all the trash bags outside of a house had to come from that house.   So, I turned to my friend Google, and  three clicks later, I was reading the ten pages of rules regulating the disposal of solid waste in the City of Kingston.  

        It was remarkably informative.   The requirements for trash (not recyclables, not yard waste, not building debris but TRASH) are absurdly simple.   The trash is limited to  3  32 gallon trash cans, or  6 trash bags totalling  96 gallons.   The trash must be generated in the City of Kingston. 

        That caused a neon question mark to appear over my head.   What does “generated” mean, in the context of the Solid Waste regulations?   “Generator” was defined but not “generated.”   Since Kingston has virtually no manufacturing, almost every iota of  the acceptable 96 gallons of  trash came from somewhere else.   My young friend Hunter (who escaped from Kingston several decades ago and seems very glad of that) immediately spotted that inconsistancy when I posted the law on Facebook.  He asked if he bought a soda in New Paltz, could he discard the empty cup in my trash in Kingston–was it “generated” when it was full or empty or somewhere along Route 32?   For that matter, I just discarded a candy wrapper.  Manufactured by the Wrigley Company in Chicago IL, purchased at Shoprite in Ulster, candy consumed at the computer lab in Esopus–at what point was this candy wrapper generated?   If they find it in my trash, can they fine me $500, the fee for putting out trash not “generated” in Kingston?  

       Well, to my best interpretation of the law, my trash was in conformation with the law (Since when did we need a lawyer to determine if we can discard a candy wrapper?) since everybody contributing to my little pile of trash bags has a Kingston address and has my permission to  put their trash at the curb.    Some weeks I don’t even have any trash of my own, a fact that once drew the ire of a FORMER alderman, who tried to use that  as evidence that I did not actually live in the house.  

      It also occurred to me that since a large percentage of my trash is  animal bodily waste that I have  picked up, it might be in my best interests to use this material for compost and mulch, and I am already doing so.  I also noticed that there is no limit to what can be put out for recycling, and there is no longer a requirement in the legal code that the newpapers  be fresh and clean, so apparently it is now legal for me to put the papers that my dogs use for bedding and bathroom in with the recycling, which ought to cut down a lot on this trash that my neighbors claim is “dumped.” 

         Also, while reading the code, I noticed I no longer have to be sneaky when I bury one of my animal companions who has gone over the Rainbow Bridge.   According to the Code, I am to dig a hole 18 inches deep, and place the critter corpse therein.   That is exactly what I have been doing, as demonstrated by the abundence of little gravestones around the property–little gravestones that will be a lot easier to see after I get through with my mulching efforts so that I do not have to spend all summer mowing and weed whacking like I have for 12 years.  

        Meanwhile, once I located the city code on line, I also  printed out the  building code.   I was correct in my remembrance that a building permit is not needed if a repair duplicates the original style, size, and construction of the component (like a staircase) being  repaired.   Any radical changes require a building permit.   Installing a new bathroom for instance, not only requires a building permit, it requires a licensed plumber and inspection by the building department.  If a  renovation is completed without obeying this law, not only are there extensive fines, but the house looses it Certificate of Occupancy.  That was very interesting.   I never saw a  Building Permit posted across the street, but I am sure Stuart and James must have gotten one.  If I see any building inspectors around the neighborhood, I’ll send them over to check.  Then we will find out who is really living in a “glass house” as James put it, when he was threatening me over the phone and on Facebook. 

       Our next Ward 9 meeting ought to be a doozy–I will post the date, location and time as soon as I verify them with Larry.



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