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When The Garbage Truck Stopped Coming: A Fictional Yet Factual Story
Zeb held his nose as he waited for the bus, moving aside a pile of trash with his foot. He closed his eyes and fondly recalled the days when the smell of fresh flowers filled the air, but he was quickly jolted back to reality by the sound of a dog whimpering beside him. He looked down and realized that Spunky, the neighbor's Labrador, had gotten his tongue stuck in an empty soda can. Blinking back tears, he screamed frantically for his neighbor to come outside and help the injured dog so that Spunky would not become one of the millions of animals killed by litter.
Mr. Johnson rushed outside to help Spunky, muttering under his breath about how he couldn't believe how a few months without garbage pickup had turned his beloved city in a wasteland. He tripped over a pile of trash bags, catching himself right before he plowed into the stop sign. As he loaded Spunky into his vehicle, Zeb could hear Mr. Johnson complaining about how the shards of broken glass in the street better not mess up his new tires.
Zeb looked around his neighborhood and thought for a minute. It had been about 3 months since the garbage collection company stopped servicing his neighborhood, and there were about 50 people who lived on his street. Zeb remembered his teacher saying that the average person is responsible for about 4 pounds of trash per day, which meant his neighbors were generating a cumulative amount of approximately 200 pounds each day. No wonder he could barely recognize his neighborhood anymore.
Where on earth was the school bus? Zeb glanced down at his watch and was surprised to see that the bus was already 15 minutes late. The bus started arriving late about 2 months ago, after it became difficult for it to drive through the trash-filled streets. Zeb decided to pass the time by counting the empty bottles and jars scattered across the sidewalks and lawns.
"97, 98, 99..." he counted, thinking about how annually, Americans discard approximately 28 billion jars and bottles. Zeb was starting to think that half that amount could be found in his own neighborhood.
A buzzing sound filled Zeb's ears, and he panicked. Bees scared him, and the trash bag a few feet away from him was filling up quickly with them. He backed away a few feet, praying that the school bus arrived soon. He made a mental note to talk to his teacher about trash pickup as soon as he stepped into the classroom. Surely something could be done about this issue, even though he was just a kid. His city was in desperate need of a dependable garbage collection company, and he was going to make sure that they found one.
I recycle 95% of the stuff that leaves my home. I wrote this story for fun, so don't worry - there's no need to lecture me about the importance of recycling.