Bring Out Your Dead!

April 1: The Takoma Park City Council announced it was today initiating a new recycling service, curbside collection of the dead. The city is one of only a few progressive municipalities in the country to offer this service, and the only one on the east coast.
Remains should be wrapped in cadaver bags similar to the brown-paper yard waste bags in common use. They can be placed at the nearest curb for early morning pickup along with glass, paper, cardboard and other recyclables.

The council debated at length whether to charge an additional fee for the new service. Councilmember Dan Robinson advocated charging by weight, but Mayor Bruce Williams pointed out that this would mean additional expense to supply sanitation crews with specialized scales, as well as additional time they would have to take for weighing, handling, and data recording.
Councilmember Terry Seamens won over a majority of the council with his argument that “in these tough economic times, a death in the family is difficult and expensive enough without also having to pay a fee.” The council voted 4 to 3 to make the service free of additional charge.
“They’ve been doing this in California for years! When I moved here I was disgusted to find out we didn’t provide this service.” scoffed Councilmember Colleen Clay. “It’s about time, too! I’ve got bodies stacked up in the basement freezer I can’t wait to get rid of!”
“People have always been dying to live in Takoma Park,” said Mayor Williams, wearing a black hood and carrying a scythe for the occasion. “Now they’ll be dying to die here, too!”
“I guess I’ll have to be careful not to fall asleep in my yard!” joked Councilmember Fred Schultz. He said he was somewhat unhappy that the service, like the other sanitation/recycling service, would only be offered to homes, not apartment buildings. “Death doesn’t skip apartment houses, why should we?” he asked.
Councilmember Josh Wright held back his affirmative vote “until I am 100% assured” that there would be no noxious odors wafting through the city from the Department of Public Works, where a section of the city’s leaf composting facility will be turned over to the new program.
“This could make a great new Hallowe’en tradition” said Reuben Snipper, proposing that tours of the facility could be given annually to local school children.

– Gilbert

About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

7 Comments on "Bring Out Your Dead!"

  1. Seth Grimes | April 1, 2010 at 9:22 am |

    What, no illustration? Someone wake Citizen Bill.

  2. Colleen Clay | April 1, 2010 at 9:31 am |

    You are right Gilbert, it’s an East Coast thing. In California we cremate. I knew it was just a matter of time before the East ran out of cemetary space, and since adverse to the most sensible solution employed by Westerners, would turn to recycling.

  3. Dan Robinson | April 1, 2010 at 9:40 am |

    Unless we charge, people will be bring their dead here in . . . um . . . what do you call a group of dead people, anyway? Let’s have the service at least pay for itself. We can once again be in the forefront of new ideas. A simple scale attached to the side of the truck would do the trick, and the fee can be be added automatically to the property tax bill, which no one seems to care about. Harumpf.

  4. Gilbert, is it really recycling if the bodies are not revived as Zombies?

  5. Reuben Snipper | April 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm |

    Takoma Park is first in something again!

  6. Maxine Hillary | April 7, 2010 at 10:57 am |

    This town is becoming so ridiculous, it’s the laughing stock of the metro DC area. Perhaps we might focus on becoming a real city addressing real issues. Anybody want to buy my newly renovated creekside property. I’d like to move out of here. Maybe our people might get their heads out of their bongs and grow up.

  7. Maxine,
    Now that we’re safely past April Fools Day the city can indeed address real issues. What real issues do you have in mind?
    – Gilbert

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