As you wander back from your evening repast, or head for Campo San Margherita in search of a little nightlife, you may notice plastic bags that begin dotting the calli here and there. They’re not supposed to be out yet, as the people who will carry them away won’t be coming by until the next morning. But be there they will, and every single day.
This is one of those mundane parts of Venetian life that continues to fascinate me, but that in the end, makes perfect sense. Every morning, before the appointed time (8:15, and the landlady has left a printed note right at the entrance lest we renters forget), you must place your trash-filled plastic sacks just out side your door. (You’ll sometimes see the sacks suspended along the walls of the calli, to avoid tempting a passing mouse.) Then, every morning, every morning after that time, a man with a large metal cart will come and toss yours and all the other bags into it, continuing on to join t.he other carts at the trash boat. I’m not sure what happens after that.
I was so surprised to hear the familiar clink-clank down below on that first Sunday morning, although I suppose Saturday night dinners can produce a week’s worth of restaurant refuse themselves (including lots of fish remains), and they can’t very well leave it lying around anywhere, inside or out.
I’m told they come by more than once in the morning, in areas where there are lots of restaurants, for example. It’s such a departure for those of us used to accumulating a week’s worth of refuse in the giant green thing in our garage or behind the house before hauling out to the street on the assigned day, and risk living with two week’s worth of the stuff if we miss the mark. Che schifo (how disgusting).
I asked a friend about recycling once; he said I must be joking, that wouldn’t be the Venetian way. He’s wrong though, I just read they’d run recycling trial in one of the sestiere, San Polo I believe, with success, and that they were now beginning to integrate the system throughout the city. I await our instructions!