According to a report by the ProJo’s Mike Stanton, revenues have dropped from $70 million to $45 million at Resource Recovery. Not all of the losses can be blamed on the economy. In typical Rhody fashion, scandals outnumber recycling bins at the landfill, where $75 million disappeared amid the banana peels, broken bobble-heads and computer cartridges. In his Nov. 3 article, Stanton chronicles a laundry list of abuses overlooked by past leaders: “…flawed construction projects, questionable land deals, cronyism, suspected fraud, apparent bid-rigging, bogus workers’ compensation claims and phony overtime scams.” In other words, when it comes to business as usual in Rhode Island, something stinks to high Jerimoth Hill.
There is a long and colorful history to refuse in the Ocean State, where even former governors have been known to dive into Dumpsters in a frantic search to find wads of cash in a tossed-out brown bag.
Ritualistically, many Rhode Island school kids visit the Central Landfill on field trips. Artists, especially in Providence, have long recycled trash into sculptures and artworks that have appeared on the city’s streets and in galleries. Andre the Giant may have been known worldwide as a wrestler and the strong man in the movie, “The Princess Bride,” but in Providence he will always be known as that guy plastered all over Dumpsters, telephone poles and stop signs.
The Trash Man Cometh (Then Goeth)
The city of Providence has the worst recycling rate in the state, with fewer than 10 percent of residents sorting out plastics from cardboard, glass from paper and dumping them into green or blue bins. Instead, each week the curbs and corners of Providence streets fill up with random refuse, overstuffed bags and broken furniture. Now the city is fighting back. Starting this month, Providence residents had to put out two recycling bins for every trash barrel, or else collectors wouldn’t pick up the garbage. The bins are supposed to be placed outside even if they’re empty. So far most city residents have ignored the “no-bin, no-barrel” policy, resulting in uncollected garbage lining the streets of Providence as far as the eye can see. As Olneyville resident Maria Medeiros said in Friday, Nov. 13 edition of The Providence Journal:
We’re going to have a city full of garbage … They thought they had a rat problem before, wait until this garbage stays out for a week.
At the Rose Hill Transfer Station in South Kingstown, there’s a cinderblock building with a bunch of books and magazines inside that someone, years ago, sign-posted as the Rose Hill Free Library. It works on the honor system. Drop a book or two off, take a book or two home. There are no due-by dates or late fees, and no shortage of trashy novels.
What is your favorite trashy Rhode Island story?