Tossing and Turning
I recycle what I can. Before I do that I reduce and reuse. Meaning I look for the product with least waste and packaging and I look for products that are made of recycled materials or made with recyclable materials.
I am not one for buying bulk beans and pasta produced within 100 miles from home and taking them home in my hemp woven bag made by local craftsmen from hemp they harvested and carried home and to market on foot. But, when I have emptied my can of soup into a microwave safe Pyrex bowl and started heating it, I will immediately rinse the can clean and place it in the recycling container I keep under the sink for that purpose. I also put my recyclable plastics in there. My paper products go elsewhere and when the containers are full I take them for a walk to the elevator down to the parking level and to the large wheeled totes the city has for apartment building recycling and... stand their wondering what to do because some idiot in the building has filled it with inappropriate junk!
A person might understand if a person makes a mistake and puts an armload of newspapers in the wrong tote when they are empty with the lids up so you can't tell which is which. They are after all identical other than the label on the lids. But filling them up to the brim with the detritus obviously from someone having cleared out some tenant's abandoned belongings is totally different. True the material is possibly recyclable, but books and encyclopedia do not belong in the glass, plastic, and metal recycling bin. Neither do VHS tapes and broken stereos and appliances even if they are mostly metal and plastic.
In the Newspaper and Other Paper bins there is a mix of all sorts of paper as well as plastic, glass and metal objects... I do get it - maybe... someone has got it into their head the idea that someone spread that all the recyclable material just gets dumped into the same bin anyhow and either is sorted mechanically or is actually just sent to the landfill with all the rest of the stuff and the whole recycling thing is just a nuisance.
Yes, I do see that all three bins are dumped into the same truck, but I also know that the truck is designed with 3 compartments in back and the materials go into the appropriate compartment and are kept separate to go their own separate way at the collection station.
I know that other places do things differently. Our neighbour 4 miles East just has two bins for every household. One for yard waste and the other for paper, metal and plastic. They don't take glass, it contaminates the paper. Of course that means that people without cars has to take their trash on the bus to the recycling station to cope with recycling glass.
Most places do have a system of separating the recycling into bins - each place also makes sure that residences get copies of the regulations each year... except maybe people living in apartment buildings... Not that I consider this an excuse for what I find at my building.
Actually I find that someone in the building consistently contaminates the bins with garbage. I think they are of the mind that recycling is a waste of time and money since they heard that the process doesn't pay for itself. So I think it is their form of protest. While it is true that it is important to recycle in the most cost effective way possible, the point of the exercise is environmental protection and resource preservation. We want to keep from over stuffing our current landfills or appropriating new land for new ones and we want to keep an eye on our resources to ensure that we will always have them.
If someone wants to protest, don't mess up my chance to recycle! Go to City Hall and tell them! Don't pee in my cornflakes if you are mad at the milkman!
Or perhaps someone in the building is frustrated with the building management or owners about something - someone who either was moving out or in charge of cleaning suites- and figured that peeing in the cornflakes was a good way to protest?
Well the recycling bins have been stuffed to overflowing for over three weeks now with red tags from the city saying they will not be picked up until the materials in them are sorted. Perhaps it is a failing of mine, but I really do not feel like sorting through hundreds of pounds of garbage when I do not have a place to do it or containers to sort it into. I also am still coping with that health issue mentioned earlier. The building managers aren't doing anything... I guess they eat oatmeal, and all the city has done is stopped picking up the recycling until the situation is rectified.
...of course perhaps the person who made the mess is also the person who will be paid to clean it up... a bit of conflict of interests - at least I think so. But I wouldn't be able to prove it.
I have two bags of cans and bottles as well as my recycling bin filled and waiting to go. I don't want to toss them into the dumpster. Actually it is against the law... Maybe I have to figure where to complain? I do pay for garbage pickup which includes recycling with my rent. But I also do not want to be branded a trouble maker. Often there is that tightrope.
And still my cornflakes get soggy... and yellow.