Trash Collection in Saigon

Ever wonder what happens to your garbage once you leave it out of your house? In the US, you know the garbage collector will come by once a week to pick up your trash. In my neighborhood, garbage is collected every morning at about 6:30 AM. Normally my neighbors will take their trash out just before they sleep. I tend to take the trash out as late as possible. During the night until 6:30 AM, your trash will be searched, thoroughly, many times, by unofficial trash collectors.

Tonight I took my trash out at about 11:00 PM, right after I closed my front doors, my 3 garbage bags were immediately being searched. I do not mind if someone wants to recycle all my garbage for me. What is frustrating, is that when the unofficial trash collectors search your trash, they make little effort to close the bags again or clean up the mess. Normally by the time I wake up, MY trash is littered all over the front of my house.

The official trash collectors do manage to take some of the trash but for them, most of the valuable trash has already been taken so they have no reasons to collect the littered trash. Lucky for me, one of my neighbors cleans up most of the mess since it normally flies into her house. By the time I wake up, the majority of the littered trash has been picked up. The trash collectors have a system to tell us when they arrive, normally they strike a bell to announce they are outside your house. For me, 6:30 AM is too early to wake up.

Trash Collection in Saigon, Vietnam

(Unofficial trash collector searching my garbage bags)

  • Our kitchen was on the second floor of the house, so my grandma used to use a rope to lower the trash right into the trash truck from the second floor balcony! I still remember that annoying bell–ding ding ding ding…ahhh!

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