The hills are alive … with the sound of recycling!

Do you like the sound of shattering glass? If so, you would like how the recycling system works in Geneva. I made two videos which depict the key stages of glass recycling in Geneva. The first one is the stage in which one empties his or her glass into the appropriate bins, strategically located around town every couple of blocks, so recycling is very convenient. (My routine is to dispose of our recyclables on the walk to the grocery/wine store. It’s the circle of life.)

In this first video, I am actively engaging in phase 1 of the process. I should note that you are only permitted to do what I’m doing between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM and not at all on Sundays. Why? Just listen.

So I know what you’re thinking. “Wow, that’s a pretty unnerving noise, to hear bottles shattering intermittently for 12 hours a day, six days a week.” Fortunately for us, we live far enough away that we don’t typically hear it, and frankly, I’ve gotten kind of used to it when I do hear it. The only time it still feels a little funny is when I’m the one dropping the bottles in. Its an unnatural act, I think, to actively shatter glass bottles, but as the cliché goes, “when in Rome…”

The recycling collection truck comes Tuesday morning, 8:00 AM

The recycling collection truck comes Tuesday morning, 8:00 AM


Phase 2 of the process only occurs once a week, and frankly, I think its pretty darn cool. First, take a look at the accompanying photo. That’s the city recycling truck about to empty a week’s supply of shattered glass into the back bin of the truck. You’ll see from the video below exactly how it works, but the thing to understand is that only the blue part of the street recycling bin that is about to be emptied is the part that is visible to the recycler, the silver part is subterranean. So when you drop your bottle in, it plummets for 7 or 8 feet before it shatters at the base of the bin. Anyway, while I find the process of shattering each bottle as I drop it into the bin a little unnerving, I incongruously derive a great amount of satisfaction from watching and listening to all that shattered glass being dumped into the back of the truck. Seriously, its kind of weird. I actually try to anticipate the truck’s arrival so that I can stand out on our front balcony and watch and listen to the proceedings!

… Which is what I have captured on the following video. This video is a little long (4 minutes, 8 seconds) because for whatever reason, he wasn’t as fast as he usually is. (Usually, its about a 2 minute process.) He dumps part of his load at the 30 second mark, but the real fireworks come at 1:50. I probably should have cut the scene off then, but you get a good look inside the truck at the very end.

So this post is about the sound of recycling, and you know what they say, “an audio track is worth a thousand words.”

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