Waste and bear management | AspenTimes.com

Waste and bear management

Su Lum

I think that our alley bear must have been displaced or dispatched, because for the past week none of the big Dumpsters have been knocked askew and the cub-sized bearproof trash containers have not been bowled over.Since I’ve only caught glimpses of the big bear, I don’t know if that was the dead one on the front page of the other paper, but I hope not.As its possible final act, the bear pushed the neighboring green Dumpster into my VW beetle, then got up on my car to attack the Dumpster from a higher angle, leaving muddy footprints and scrapes of green paint on the hood and headlights.I didn’t file charges against the bear and won’t get the car repainted – it seemed somehow poetic justice.Many years ago, I had a metal garbage can that local dogs would knock over, strewing its embarrassing contents down the alley. This was in the early ’70s when dogs ran wilder, probably (a thought) keeping bears away from Aspen.The manager of the condominium told me just to use that Dumpster, but they have a new manager now and a lock on the Dumpster – time to grow up.I signed up with a local trash collector, receiving a big green plastic trash can which, it turned out, did not meet city codes. Here I think some better communication is in order between the city/county and the trash people.The next step was to purchase a bearproof metal trash container for $415 (!), cheerfully delivered a few days after I called Bill at BearProof Inc., whose business is, needless to say, booming in Pitkin County.So I was all set, the only problem being that when the bear knocked this thing over I couldn’t pick up the heavy container, and if I anchored it to my shed it would probably pull the whole shed down – come to think of it, maybe I could kill two birds with one stone.A bonus for the $63-per-month trash service is free recycling: two plastic boxes, one for paper products and one for glass and plastic. These were set out in the alley on trash day, but it turns out I needed to put them in front of my house at the curb.This struck me as strange, it seeming that it would be easier to pick up recyclables in alleys rather than on Highway 82 but lo, pick it up they did, leaving the containers in the street, making it look as if I were trying to save a parking spot.A further puzzlement is that the recycle people accept magazines, office paper, paperboard, newspapers, junk mail, cardboard, phone books and brown paper bags in the paper container. At our own recycling center these items have to be separated and put into different bins.If the trash people can take them all together, why can’t we?Here again, we have a failure of continuity and communication. Everyone is all whipped up to save the planet by recycling and to save the bears from euthanasia by starving them, and, to keep the momentum going, the trash and recycle people should at least be on the same page as our local laws and recycling center so we all know what we’re doing and how to do it.Su Lum is a longtime local who thinks the left hand knoweth not what the right hand is doing. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.