Feb 28, 2011

Recycling: "CAN" You Get It Right?

Guest Writer:  Ruth Morse
When our county decided to start accepting recyclables way back when, I was naive.
I thought it would save money!

In order to collect the various recyclables, our garbage hauler (GH) had to add a second, totally different kind of truck, plus people* to people* it.
*I almost said guys to man it.  Am I outdated or what?

That meant our quarterly garbage bill went up, not down.

Oh well, the savings would surely show up somewhere down the line.  RIGHT?
The fees for regular garbage at the landfill would be less and the savings would be passed down to the little people.  RIGHT?

At first there were rumors that only clear plastic garbage bags could be sold in stores, so that the RPs (the Recycle Police) could visually check what was in your regular garbage to make sure you were complying with the voluntary recycling......

Imagine!  Specialists:  GH RPs whose job it was to run to each and every garbage pail before the regular GH could snatch the garbage bags out and toss them in the crusher!  Wait!!  I see a tuna can in the bottom of that bag!

Whose job would it be to retrieve that can?  One can only imagine.  Fortunately, that rumor turned out to be untrue.

BUT ...... since we are stuck with expensive recycling .... to save money .... to someone ..... someplace ..... sometime .... somewhere ......

Jim, better known as Driftwood in certain circles, has high standards for how his recyclables should look.  For today, we are only going to cover the CORRECT way to recycle a can.

You start out with something like this:

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever put a can looking like that in the recycle bin.
Driftwood would get cranky.  {editor's note:  get??}  Wash the can!  If you can get away with it (pun intended), let the dishwasher handle this chore for you. 

Now you should have:

Of course, if you put the dirty can in the dishwasher with the label still on it, you probably have a naked can, but pieces of paper have gotten stuck to various other items in the load.  Peeling that paper off plates and silverware can be a chore and nobody needs that.  We're getting closer to the goal, but are not there yet.
Either way, you should be at this stage: 

We're still not done, a la Driftwood!  This is the way cans going into HIS recycle bin need to look:

Why do the cans have to be smushed?  Beats me.  Driftwood claims that years ago he read that in some obscure recycling literature and he latched on to that idea.

There are also rules about how PAPER going into the bin should be handled.  Maybe I will save those for another time.  This is enough excitement for one day.

We live in a senior community.  Translation:  old folk who have a lot of time on their hands.
Our garbage collection is very-early-before-sunrise-Tuesday morning.  Everyone puts their trashcans and recycle bins to the curb on Monday.  Seems some people think there is a competition to see who can get their out first.  I mean -- 9:00am Monday morning for Tuesday morning pickup?  I fail to see the logic in this.

We may not win the early bird garbage race on our street, but nobody, and I mean NOBODY, has neat recyclables like Driftwood.
 He's a craftsman when it comes to trash.
...and one more thing......
uh, I'll get back to you when I remember it.
The Cheap Senior Citizen is a Guest Writer who occasionally shares helpful hints she has learned through her experience.


Driftwood's cousin said...

"Driftwood" is out of his ever-lovin' pea picken' mind if he thinks I'M going to recycle like that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They're lucky I throw the stuff in at all.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Driftwood has some issues. Recycling is good, but.... what he's doing is beyond recycling. Maybe he could come clean my house?

Ruth said...

Oh no, if Driftwood is going to clean anybody's house, it's going to be ours!