Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The dustbin man cometh

I suppose for my North American readers I should firstly explain that the dustbin man is the garbage man, well I think that might be what you call it!

He comes once a week and beeps his horn so that you know to take the rubbish outside. The rubbish is kept in a tanque - the blue one you can just see in the picture - and you have to keep it inside the gates or the street dogs will have a field day distributing its contents all over the street, and someone will steal the actual bin. Most people have empty rice sacks for their rubbish so we are quite posh.

The dustbin man expects a tip - 50 pesos which is just over a dollar. If you don't tip him he stops coming. The other day they came to the house and I was in the shower, so my husband told them I wasn't in and it is usually me who pays them. Today they saw me outside the corner shop and followed me down the street in order to get their tip. It wasn't even the right day,the bin was empty and I am not used to being chased by dustbin men!

In England a lot of people have bins on wheels called, intelligently enough, wheelie bins. As recycling is the norm, you have a different bin for different things - one for paper, one for bottles etc. Now although we do not have formal recycling here, the dustbin men are very good at sorting through your rubbish. They examine every bin carefully, putting the bottles in one area of their truck as they can sell them, plastic containers go in another, and they also look for food, going through all the plastic bags. When Tyson, my Great Dane, was castrated on our dining room table, I put his testicles in a plastic bag and threw them in the bin. Yes, you have guessed it, following the standard investigation of bin contents the dustbin men kept Tyson's bits. I have no idea what happened to them - but I hope whoever ate them enjoyed them.


  1. That was a mixture of laugh and scream. Yuk. But it was funny. I couldn't read this without "My old man's a dustman" running around my head...strange when I can barely remember my own name some days. Great writing. Thanks.

  2. Of course, I had forgotten we called them dustmen rather than dustbin men! Forgetting my english these days!

  3. we lived in an apartment complex for a long time and the people in charge of the tip would often "forget" for weeks at a time. so the trash would pile up in the (always) too small closet outside the complex! now, we have to carry the trash all the way to the nearest avenue since piling up trash in the house and waiting for the men is tiring (and disgusting)
    love your blog!

  4. Sound horrid Melanie. I know we are lucky. Many people here have no bin men especially in the country side and it just piles up. Plus there are so many styrofoam plates and plastic bags and bottles. Life must have been much better when they used banana leaves to eat off! Glad you enjoy the blog.