Monday, April 20, 2015

R: Recycling Truck

Just in time for Earth Week: a celebration of recycling trucks!

Portland is on all sorts of lists as one of the country's (or even the world'sgreenest cities, and this is partly due to Portland's dedication to recycling. After all, Oregon was the first state in the country to enact a bottle bill in 1971 (we pay a deposit when we buy bottled or canned beverages and receive the money back when we return them).

The City of Portland set a goal to reduce waste and raise the recycling rate to 75 percent by 2015. Not only do we recycle the usual newspaper and glass, but we also recycle yard waste, mixed paper, and some plastics, and we even compost food waste. Garbage is picked up every other week to encourage recycling and composting. 

We are so obsessive about our recycling that, of course, Portlandia made a sketch about how to sort your recycling

Curbside service makes recycling easier, so yes, I'm thankful for that noisy recycling truck. We shouldn't take it for granted.

Prayer for the Incredibly Loud Recycling Truck that Comes at Dawn Every Thursday Morning

Which thank God it does, for can you believe we used to throw all that stuff out? Those groaning barrels of paper and cardboard and plastic and glass and lawn clippings and dead fronds from the cedar and fir trees?

But every Thursday morning at dawn or sometimes before dawn here comes that vast epic roaring truck, and I lie abed and listen as the guys leap off from where they are hanging on the sides, and they chaff each other as they haul buckets, and then the truck uses its vast arm to pick up the biggest bucket and flip it, and there's a huge crash as everything lands amidships, and then the truck grumbles on down the hill (I can hear the gears shifting if I listen sharp) and everytime I think, Lord, thanks for those guys, and keep their backs strong, and thanks for giving us the wit to finally realize we cannot continue to trash the world You dreamed into being.

Thanks for giving us the brains to begin to figure out ways to stop committing the sin of stealing clean air and clean water from our children.

And I pray quietly, as I get up to ponder the miracle of coffee, that it is not too late for us to clean the miracle You handed us like a glowing green jewel, so long ago. And so: amen.

Here's more information on why I chose this focus for the A to Z, and you can read all my 2015 A to Z posts here. I hope you enjoy the celebrations of the miracle and muddle of the ordinary! 

You can buy the book at Brian's favorite local bookstore, Broadway Books, at Powell's Books, or on AmazonBrian's work is used with permission of Ave Maria Press.


  1. Our small town is terrible about recycling. Such a waste (pardon the pun)
    A to Z blogger

  2. We also have recycling here in Los Angeles. I recycle as much as I can and create as little landfill trash as possible. It makes sense.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out