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What separates our wonderful and beautiful bucolic corner of the world (Brattleboro) from the abandoned parts of the Vehicle City of Flint, Michigan on a windy recycling day? Nothing … absolutely nothing! Well, I guess we still have drinkable water. Seriously, what exactly does it take to button up your recycling containers on a windy day so that your garbage isn’t blowing all over town? I can do it, but to be fair the wind did blow over both my containers, so I had to pick it all up and put it back in the receptacles and re-secure it. I found someone’s Amazon cardboard box from two streets over in the field from across from my house on Monday! Oh, by the way, shame on you for not shopping locally!

I’m not sure why, but so far this spring has been filled with super windy days. I feel like I’ve moved to Chicago, the South Side of Chicago! Also, while I’m at it, it’s not the job of the people who pick up recycling to police our streets on windy days. I was talking to someone a while back and they were upset that the recycling guys didn’t cross the street to pick up the stuff that blew out of their container. Ummm … yeah, not their job! It is however your moral responsibility to button that stuff up! Maybe a couple of bungy cords over the container holding your trash in place might be a good place to start? I don’t know, I feel like we should be pretty good at this by now! Let’s face it, it takes way less time to potty-train a child!

Take a ride down South Main Street on a windy recycling day. It’s like running some sort of mechanical Super-G, and God forbid you are unlucky enough to put up a fence around your property because that’s where it all gathers. Then drive past that same fence the next day and watch as the owner of the property is cleaning up all of your garbage (and you know who you are). I’m truly thankful that our compost bins all have latches. Imagine if they didn’t, there would be flipping avocado trees all over the place and they would be shading the watermelon patches.

I’ve been holding my tongue about this for some time. Honestly, I really wanted to say something a few weeks ago when I had to stop my vehicle on Belmont Avenue and move full containers out of the road so I could pass. But I didn’t; I waited, I gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and thought, “That was pretty bad, they won’t let it happen again.” Man, was I wrong! Obviously, I don’t mean to suggest that you all do this. I notice those of you that take extra care and go the extra mile and make sure that all of your recyclables are wind tunnel tested and will withstand whatever wind Mother Nature throws at it. But for those of you that drag enough cardboard to start an Amazon distribution center to the curb without securing it, I say this: Button it up! Would you walk into a formal event with an unbuttoned shirt? Of course not, you’d BUTTON IT UP!!!

I don’t like to be the one who points this out to the “free the cardboard” crowd. I also get that you may get hurt feelings. I would say this, though: Don’t get hurt feelings, get string! You’re probably busy and it’s everything you can do to bring those bullet proof plastic bins to the curb, and taking that extra step is spirit breaking. But let me suggest this, it’s not! Just do it! I hate being the recycling adult in this conversation, but when I drive around my town after a windy day and it literally looks like a garbage barge flew overhead and hit the dump button, it bothers me. Conversely, I know deep down it bothers you. We live here for a reason; it’s beautiful, the air is clean and so are our streets. The solution is simple: take two minutes and button it up and we’ll have clean streets again! What the hell is up with that?

Peter “Fish” Case is a man with an opinion. He offers up a weekly podcast discussion that can be heard at Questions, compliments and complaints can be sent to him at The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.

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