The Whole Story of Talking Trash

By the Rubble Rousers

So that you don't have to memorize every column, we will keep the whole of talking trash on this page.    


The paraphrased definition of Rouser is:  A person(s) who stirs up the passions of the public. And to rouse is: to bring out of a state of inactivity or apathy. 

The Rubble Rousers of Grove Isle have given those definitions a satirical twist and are embarking on a quest to educate our island residents about the proper techniques of, ugh, RECYCLING YOUR TRASH.

So, “Who appointed you to this task?” you may ask. Uh, we appointed ourselves. One day, Bobbi, Janet, Johnnie, Lois, and Skeeter were chatting about what social soirée we might plan next, and someone mentioned we should recycle everything including our wine bottles at those events. The party planning/slash/ recycling subject spawned the needy activism in us, and off we went, sticking our noses into the business of rubble and giving Calixto a pain in his side. Boy-oh-boy, were we surprised. 

As goody-two-shoes, attempting to pacify our grandchildren and leave them a cleaner world, we learned that most everybody is attempting to recycle everything from paper clips to toilet paper rolls. That’s good, right? All that rubbish is staying out of the landfills and being used to produce a useful product, right? We borrowed the term “WISHCYCLING” to describe our valiant efforts. But, hold your collective breath, you good stewards of the planet. You know that plastic sign in the Service Area on your floor? The one with the itsy-bitsy print which is as old as the building? Those signs are Miami-Dade telling us that “NO, WE CAN’T TOUCH THAT” stuff you’re taking time to sort and put in the little blue bins.  

 Here’s what else we found out through a little snooping. CHINA IS TO BLAME... The country, not the fancy dishware. Now, we blame China for a lot: hacking our secrets, polluting the earth with exhaust fumes, killing rhinoceros for aphrodisiacs. We digress. So, why not use China as the scapegoat for our recycling problem? Because it’s somewhat true: China doesn’t accept our shiploads (careful with that spelling) of recycled items any longer and the United States is having difficulty finding “buyers” for all that material. Therefore, local waste management companies stopped recycling most plastics and metals. Yes, dear earth-conscious friends, those plastic take-out containers from Fresh Market with the yummy meatloaf goes into the landfill after you’ve carefully washed it. 

Dazed and Confused? Yep, so are we. Have no fear, the do-gooder Rubble Rousers are on the job, discovering the ugly truth and passing it on to you, our spell-bound public. This article is the first TALKING TRASH, a series designed to educate you on more than you wanted to know about recycling in our county. Next, we talk specifics. 

Cliff hanger: can lead a water bottle to the recycle trough for smashing, but you can’t take its lid.  

Part 2 of 6 - A Second Life


Where were we? Oh yeah, that thing about leading a water bottle to the recycle trough but not its lid. Doesn’t make sense, but it’s catchy.  

While sleuthing, The Rubble Rousers realized there are more items on the NO recycling list than are approved for recycling. Bummer. Instead of listing what’s NOT, we’ll start with what IS. Sounds like a Shakespeare line, doesn’t it? Let’s go with it, shall we? 

Oh, thou water flask with the slender neck, so convenient yet non-biodegradable. 

Get thee to the recycling bin and transform thyself into a picnic table.

Cardboard carton with thine milky content, are thee but a lovely vessel? 

Your destiny lies in rebirth, reincarnated into a box of Kleenex tissues. 


Okay, that was clumsy, but you get the point.  Here’s another little ditty:  

1 to six, it hits the bricks. Seven to ten, doesn’t live again.

Interpretation: Find your magnifying glass and search for the recycle symbol on the product. If the product is labeled 1 to 6, it is approved for recycling. Numbers 7 and above are dumped in the trash at the recycle center.  

THESE PRODUCTS ARE A GO. And they don’t need sorting.   

Warning to kitchen gods and goddesses: When recycling, pretty please rinse objects so they do not contaminate other products. Oh, and if you goof up and put something in the blue bin that doesn’t meet the approval of the Recycle Dudes/Dudettes, don’t fret—they won’t send Guido to break your legs.  

PLASTIC:  Are you iced tea or icky, fermented Kombucha? Recycle doesn’t judge, so throw those plastic bottles in the bin. Also, water, soda, juice, shampoo, milk bottles and other plastic bottles. Especially things with a narrow neck. That giant, red Tide container? Yep, it can go in there. 

GLASS: Soda, beer and wine (lots of beer and wine), salad dressing, jelly and pickle jars and those other jars with moldy stuff at the back of your fridge. The metal lids? No one knows so stick it in there and “don’t worry ‘bout it.” 

ALUMINUM CANS: Are you Coke or Pepsi? Loaded or Zero? Doesn’t matter, put those cans in the bin.  

STEEL CANS: No matter how long the green beans have been sitting on the Lazy Susan, they are recyclable. Oh, dump the beans first. (And only peel the labels if you are OCD in need of therapy.) 

CARDBOARD CARTONS: Milk and cream, juice boxes, broth, wine box (Cardboardeaux).  These may be recycled.  

ALL CLEAN PAPER: Yep, the NYTimes, AARP magazines, and all the junk mail you wish to put where the sun doesn’t shine. Even Al’s secret shredded papers. Use the container in the lobby or put it in your Service Area, but Don’t put it in a Plastic Bag...use those Milam paper sacks or simply place the stuff in the bin. We know, it takes the grocery clerks longer to fill a paper sack than a single use plastic’s worth it.  

CARDBOARD: Of course the toilet paper roll is a go. So long as you break down your cardboard boxes, you may leave them in the Service Area. And one more thing: dirty, oily pizza boxes should be pitched in the basura or we kick you in the trasero

LIDS AND CAPS: The Recycle Dudes/Dudettes have difficulty keeping very small items out of the conveyor works, so they discourage sending the tiny lids and caps from containers. Again, don’t obsess over it.  


What do you do with that Blueberry yogurt cup   

After the cat or dog licks it clean?? 

Find out in the next edition of “Talking Trash.” 



Hurray! Fifi and Fido can lick those Activia yogurt cups before you put them in the recycle. There’s a six on the bottom of the container so they are approved.  

And hallelujah. Like amber soldiers lined up to do battle for our health, plastic medicine bottles are indispensable. These receptacles for miracle cures are labeled No. 5, just like Chanel. They get a pass. 

 WHO says it’s impossible to recycle every piece of plastic? The County Commissioner and Progressive Solutions, our waste management company, that’s who. Not much we can do about it until the state of Florida decides to go greener or until Miami-Dade County, which is the worst county in the state for landfill, provides alternative solutions for recycling receptacles labeled seven and above.    



PLASTIC STRAWS: Don’t get us started on straws and what they do to marine life. Paper straws are now being used by restaurants, and many communities are banning their sale altogether. Much to our chagrin, Starbucks down the street, the one right on the Biscayne Bay with its elusive manatees, is still using plastic straws. Give them an earful. But the fattening Frappuccino’s container is good for a second time around.  

FLIMSY FOOD CARTONS: Many, but not all, of the flimsy plastic containers for take-out are not recyclable. Wow. Those handy containers mount up when we retirees don’t cook. Ask for cardboard if it is a choice. EXCEPTION: the delicious roasted chicken comes in a recyclable container and so do the Campari tomatoes. Get out the magnifying glass and check the bottom for its one to six number. 

PLASTIC PLATES AND UTENSILS: Party City, the go-to-place for all you party needs. The isles are filled with fun, colorful plastic paraphernalia from cups to spoons. And Miami-Dade doesn’t like it—no matter what the celebratory occasion. CHOOSE PAPER INSTEAD. The paper products you use may not be recyclable because they’re dirty, but they will decompose. 

OTHER STUFF not acceptable: Any plastic labeled seven (7) or above. Also: Ceramics, Rubber, Light Bulbs, Wire Hangers (return it to the cleaners,) Metals, Shoes & Clothing (Take it to Goodwill.)   


  1. What is EPS? Hint: not a sports station. Another hint: expanded polystyrene foam. 
  2. When was EPS invented?  
  3. What neighboring city has banned EPS? 
  4. How long does it take this product to degrade? 
  5. Is this product carcinogenic?    

See small print answers at bottom of page

PLASTIC BAGS: Those single use bags from your favorite retailer (when you forget to ask for paper or leave your personal bag in the car), garment sleeves from the cleaners, and plastic wrappers from bread are recyclable. 

Fill your utility room to the brim with these bags and take them to the grocer or Walgreens. Why can’t we put them in the blue bins? These plastic bags get stuck in the conveyor something or another at the recycling plant and cause the machines to malfunction. AND: like EPS, they take forever to degrade. it bears repeating: don’t put your recycling into a plastic Trash bag. Maintenance will throw it out with the trash.  

ANSWERS to Pop Quiz: 1. Styrofoam 2. 1947 by Dow Chemical 3. Coral Gables beat the lawsuit 

4. 500 years or maybe never!! 5. The National Toxicology Program says possibly.  

UFO’s: part 4 of 6

Are you excited to read an article about ET or Unidentified Flying Objects?     To finally have the secrets of Area 51 dispelled?     To discover proof that ancient aliens coupled with earthlings and caused Egyptians to be born with pointy heads?  

Now that we have your attention, we confess, this article is: UNIDENTIFIED FOUND OBJECTS.   Dilemma: The storage room is full of flammable paint cans. The closet is overflowing with outdated cell phones. The hearing aid batteries can’t be sold for their zinc. The computer has been infected by an alien virus and zombies have walked on your favorite Kindle. Do not fear, the Rubble Rousers have come to the rescue. Or at least have some advice about your crap. 

BATTERIES: Building One has a battery recycle bin for those small batteries and for hearing aid batteries. Save them up; walk over there, get some exercise. Shh... Don’t repeat this, but we’re asking for a battery receptacle in every building.  

ELECTRONICS: Periodically, Coconut Grove holds events for recycling electronics. Check-out announcements in the BID or we will remind you in GroveIsle123.  



PAINTS, CHEMICALS, HAZARDOUS WASTE:  Take such material to the Loading Dock and the attendant will ensure its disposal. But please, do not store flammable material in the storage area. Residents who store their Louis Vuitton luggage will not be happy if the sprinklers go off.   

MEDICINES: : PROTECT OUR WATER SUPPLY. Water pollution from manufacturing runoff is criminal! Please don’t add to the contamination by flushing medicines down the toilet or the drain. California has initiated a DontRushToFlush campaign with Walgreens taking the lead. In our vicinity thus far, only two Walgreens have a drug take-back program: 200 SW. 13th St. and 2700 W. Flagler. Some hospitals have such programs.  

Thanks to Bobbi, who experimented with the Miami Dade waste management advice to dissolve pills in water or soda, we learned a lot by researching this issue. Dissolving doesn’t work on all products. If you can’t find a take-back program, here are a few good pointers: Remove drugs from the container and try to dissolve or crush them with a mortar and pestle (we’re sure you can find a substitute.) If that isn’t effective, mix with dirt, kitty litter or used coffee grounds to make the pills or capsules unappealing to kids and pets. Place the mixture in a tightly sealed bag and trash it. Be sure to mark out your name and other personal information before recycling the pill bottle. Oh, for goodness sake: we know this is a dog community and no one has kitties let alone litter.    

NEEDLES AND SHARPS:  Maintenance is not in favor of getting stuck with a contaminated needle. Here’s the short story: get a sharps container, fill it up, and take it to a Florida Department of Health location. Downtown, 1350 NW 14th St., or West Perrine Health Center, 18255 Homestead Ave.

The full instructions for needles and other hard to dispose of material may be found at Tips: Feedback: If anyone knows of a closer location for drug take-back programs or sharps disposal other than the above locations, please give us a shout out at: You may also notify us if you hear about A Zombie apocalypse or of anyone who is hiding a cat. 


Ah, exciting, cosmopolitan and artistic Paris with its trashy back alleys and urine-soaked sidewalks. Oh, London, so intellectual and cultured yet cocky with polluted skies of foggy grey.  Our heroine is assigned the dangerous task of tracking the handsome antagonist to one of these famed cities. 

The Parisian garbage union has gone on strike, sending her to London in search of her prey. Due to the lack of trash cans which double as bomb receptacles, she has donned her weaponized “trash-high stiletto boots” and hopped on the rubbishy Tube in hot pursuit....


Oops. The writer forgot this isn’t a romantic suspense novel. This TALE OF TWO CITIES is about another set of cities located in the United States. QUERY: What city has the best reported experience in recycling? Wait for it...suspense...San Francisco. With all those homeless people living everywhere, San Francisco manages to be a recycling superstar followed by Seattle and LA. “Holy Scraps, Batman, the west coast has the east coast splat, boom, bang, beat all to smithereens.” 

Where does cosmopolitan Miami fit in this tale of cities? We couldn’t find it on the Worst list, but it wasn’t on the best either. It is considered the worst in Florida, however. According to Wallet Hub, Florida is ranked 34th in overall green initiatives. There may be a lot of culprits, such as education and poverty, but let’s stick to what might be done by Mr. Joe Blow. 


WWW Your Way to Smartsville

Music has started playing in your head: “If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, Who Ya Gonna Call? If there’s something weird and it don’t look good, Who Ya Gonna Call?” Okay, so we got carried away with the theme from Ghostbusters

For those who want to do your part at home, recycle sensibly. 

For those of you who want to be the smartest guy or gal in the room and/or become an activist, here are some links to help you out: Billie Jean Baldwin, Conservation Committee Chair of Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove Search Recycle.  Commissioner Xavier Suarez. 305-669-4003. Ken Russell or @infoKenrussellmiami. About carton recycling. This is a partisan effort, part of Miami-Dade Democrats. See article about plastic and Styrofoam. Florida joins Wrap to decrease plastic. Village Council. the company trying to gather trash from our oceans 


 IT’S NOT hunky mark wahlberg in an m. night shyamalan disaster movie. This Happening is good news. And, folks, we’re being serious here.

The Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove  has state they are "uniting residents, local business leaders, organizations, educational and faith institutions across the state to stand for our communities and environment against Plastic.”  Working tirelessly, the 128-year-old Woman’s Club has partnered with the Coconut Grove Village Council to start the ball rolling on banning plastic bags in Coconut Grove. Many municipalities within Miami Dade, Bal Harbor, Bay Harbor Islands, Surfside, Key Biscayne, City of Miami Beach, and Coral Gables have successfully implemented city-wide bans on the sale and distribution of various single-use plastics.”   

“We can no longer recycle our way out of this problem...Despite efforts to expand recycling programs. Less than 5%of single-use plastic bags are currently being recycled. The rest of these bags end up in our landfills or as litter, clogging storm-drain systems, and making their way to our waterways and oceans....It is estimated that 60-80% of all marine debris, and 90% of floating debris is plastic. 

As a result, it poses a persistent threat to wildlife, killing millions of marine animals like sea turtles and sea birds every year.”

Egads! Those statistics are mind boggling. Because of our lackadaisical habits, we’re killing birds and turtles and dolphins. OH MY.  We have to admit: the 60’s generation, which spawned disposable, is now reaping the results of our cleverness. Our children and grandchildren are paying for the convenience in our lives.  The world is suffering from the manufactured products which do not degrade. 


What can you do to help?   


  • Join the Florida Plastic-Free Coalition. Stay informed and involved. Sign up by email: Billie Jean Baldwinn, the Conservation Committee Chair of the Woman’s Club of Coconut Grove is the person leading this charge.

  • Reduce the amount of plastic you use by carrying your own reusable items such as water bottle, cups, shopping bags, and straws. Consider green products, such as biodegradable or compostable. One source is 

  • Ask your favorite restaurants to switch to cardboard carryout containers, paper bags and paper straws. And none of that Styrofoam crapola.

  • · Remind smokers that cigarette butts are the #1 most littered item in the world and harm wildlife. The filters are Not Biodegradable.

  • · Think and act responsibly. Everything you throw away has a permanent existence and a consequence.  

  • · Check out to see the extent of the problem for our oceans and what one concerned organization is doing to help. 

Note: A recent article in March 5, 2019 edition of The Atlantic (can be found on-line) What Happens Now That China Won’t Take U.S. Recycling? discusses the future of waste in our country. It’s a scary read. Also, check out The New Yorker’s A Grand Plan to Clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Feb 4, 2019; a valiant effort by some young entrepreneurs. CBS News, April 1, 2019 on-line: Why recycling efforts are getting trashed: “This is a total no-no” is another expose on recycling.

And so, it’s happy trails for The Rubble Rousers: Bobbi, Janet, Johnnie, Lois, and skeeter. We wish to Thank our enthralled reading public for your attention to “Talking Trash.” Let’s make Grove isle a positive example for responsible recycling.