23 January 2007

Trash day...every day

What is the best way to keep a medieval historical city clean – by hand. Here in Ascoli Piceno there are city employees who go around six days a week and pick up the trash and sweep the streets with a hand broom. Our building has no dumpster; we place our trash outside the building entry door each night and in the morning it is gone. The city trash collectors roam the streets with a pull cart collecting the trash and sweeping the cobblestone streets with a hand-broom.

There is a similar routine each day after the local mercato vendors depart in nearby Piazza Roma, the city street cleaners pick-up the trash left by the morning’s mercato but since this area is large enough they are able to utilize a mechanical street sweeper.

There is an emphasis here on recycling and we divide our trash into several categories: plastics, paper, glass, biodegradable food and the rest is trash. We get a regular supply of bags for our trash, food and plastics while there are bins on several streets where we can deposit our paper and glass. With the amount of wine consumed here the glass bins are regularly full.

One of the distinguishing features of the street cleaners is their bright fluorescent uniforms, you can spot them a kilometer away. It is interesting that most of these workers that I have seen are women, not the type of sanitary workers that I recall from the US.

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