Dependable Erection

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stop trashing Durham

From the comments section of the Durham Central market post:
I look forward to finding Eat Local Y'all litter on my neighborhood cleanup instead of wrappers for the Mcdouble juicy grease burger.

Couple of months back, i found this little known section in the Durham Municipal Code of Ordinances, Chapter 26, Article 5, Section 26-121:
It shall be unlawful for any person selling goods, wares or merchandise of such nature that the purchasers thereof throw the containers or wrappers of such goods, wares or merchandise or portions of the goods, wares or merchandise themselves on the sidewalks, streets or other public ways of the city to allow such containers, wrappers or portions of such goods, wares or merchandise, or any part thereof, to remain thereon. Any person selling goods, wares or merchandise of such a nature shall also keep his or her premises clean and free from such containers or wrappers or portions of goods, wares and merchandise, so that the same will not be blown or otherwise transferred to the streets, sidewalks or other public ways.

You don't have to be a lawyer to understand that. If you sell anything that could end up as trash, it's your responsibility to see to it that it doesn't end up as trash.

Now, file this alongside the barking dog provision of the noise ordinance at the top of the list of unenforceable sections of the Municipal Code. Even worse, it doesn't seem as though one iota of effort was made to educate the public about the existence of this ordinance. Except for you, dear reader, and myself, i doubt that a dozen Durham residents are aware of this section of the Code.

But here's a thought. Next time you see a McDouble wrapper on your street, or even worse, an empty plastic bag with a store logo on it, don't pick it up*. Take a picture of it with your cell phone or digital camera. Then file a Durham One-Call request, attach the picture you've just taken, and ask for enforcement of Section 26-121 of the Municipal Code. I bet if One-Call gets a hundred requests in June for this service, somebody at City Hall will start thinking about this as a problem.


*If it's a plastic grocery bag, yeah, you'll need to pick it up. Some bird is going to strangle on it. But take the picture anyway.



  • Perhaps those of us who live near McD's could gather their trash in one location and then dump it at their doorstep.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:01 PM  

  • oh yes, because govt is the solution to all our problems. Let's all become a nation of whiners.

    Here in NY we have BID patrols to handle this shit. Sponsored by local businesses for the advertising/goodwill.

    Also: don't litter, and don't stay silent when you see someone doing it. If you're scared to confront them, carry mace just in case.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 9:15 AM  

  • Any time you want to play chess with me, D, i'm up for a game.

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:18 AM  

  • LOL I suck at chess. But I'll be back for Father's Day if you've up for a game over a coupla cold ones. May I suggest Fishmongers? Bringing my new bride (marriage -- third time's the charm!).

    Seriously, put the word out I'm selling 911 W. Club as soon as I get the grass mowed and the inside staged. Gonna buy one of those fancy Mangum condos now that the price has come down, and I hate being an out of town landlord.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 9:42 AM  

  • The thing about chess is that sometimes you have to think more than one move ahead.

    By Blogger Barry, at 9:44 AM  

  • It also helps to lull your opponents into a false sense of security (like the one you get when you rely on the govt to solve your problems).

    On Yahoo Chess I am 'dcrollins'. Loser buys the first round.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 10:54 AM  

  • Although you're still going in the wrong direction, you may find this interesting reading.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:25 AM  

  • Onward, Don Quixote!

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 12:08 PM  

  • Surely you would have seen it in the comments, dumbass.

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 2:23 PM  

  • Sorry D. Some commenters are still unwelcome around here.

    I think of them like pieces of litter. I clean them up when i get a chance.

    It's amazing, though, how some people think that my entire thought processes are presented in any single blog post i make.

    I think Whitman (Walt, not Christie or Meg) had something to say about that once.

    By Blogger Barry, at 2:33 PM  

  • No worries, mate. Since LB's comment is deleted I'll explain that I was calling him a dumbass for not noticing the implied (in the post) and explicit (in the comments) criticism of litterers. He should stick to criticising the lax hoax.

    My pet peeve (as a smoker) is people in cars who don't believe they are littering by throwing out their butts. I'm sure that Walt would have something pithy on the subject. Herewith my favourite Whitmanism: "He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher."

    By Blogger KeepDurhamDifferent!, at 2:52 PM  

  • Two of my favorite places growing up on Long Island were Walt Whitman High School and the Walt Whitman Mall.

    The first visible symptoms of irony's fatal illness.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:00 PM  

  • What was wrong with LB's comment?

    There are McDs all over the place including one four blocks from my house. It looks just fine.

    How come it's the one in Durham that looks like it took a crap on itself?

    I see KDD talking about the litterers but not Ragin. His entire thought process IS that everything is the fault of the big corporation.

    By Blogger Commenter, at 5:28 PM  

  • LB is not welcome here.

    In general, people who refer to me by my last name are also not welcome here, but i'll give you another opportunity to prove that you're intelligent enough to comment here.

    As mentioned earlier, it's pretty remarkable that people think any one blog post represents the entirety of my thinking, especially on an issue like trash.

    I have probably spent more time over the past 4 years picking up other people's trash (and organizing cleanups of other people's trash) than you will in your lifetime.

    There is of course more at stake here than blaming "big corporations" for all of our litter problems. Of course you realize that most McDonald's are not owned by "big corporations" but by franchisers. In Durham, those franchisers tend to be small local corprorations, but really, that's irrelevant.

    There's a law on the books. It clearly places the responsibility for keeping trash off the streets on the retail establishments that originate that trash.

    I think it's unenforceable. I'm testing that hypothesis.

    How's that Gulf of Mexico big corporation cleanup thing working for you?

    By Blogger Barry, at 6:03 PM  

  • People with valid points are unwelcome? OK then.

    You presume to know how much trash I've picked up in my life? You presume too much. Some of it I've picked up has been in Durham County.

    I can only go by what you put in your post.

    I agree it's a foolish, stupid and unenforceable law. Like most laws, if the majority of the population doesn't voluntarily obey it there are never enough resources to enforce it.

    Ordinance or not do you really expect McD's to follow every customer 10 blocks down the street just in case they drop a wrapper? I'll bet Raleigh has no such ordinance yet the McDs near me is not a trash pit.

    By Blogger Commenter, at 6:16 PM  

  • The man who says "You presume too much," also writes "His entire thought process IS that everything is the fault of the big corporation."

    Yeah, i can see where this is going.

    Have a nice life in Raleigh. I hear it's a charming city.

    By Blogger Barry, at 6:49 PM  

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