April 5, 2014
Today I’m going admit something that is probably not socially acceptable. Some people will be disgusted, some people will be outraged, but maybe, just maybe, someone will understand.
So I’m going to say it… here goes… (Dramatic pause…..)
I’m sick to death of recycling!
There, I said it.
Having said it let me explain. We live in an apartment townhouse complex and we use the Blue Box system for recycling. There are several clusters of communal Blue Boxes scattered over the property. Each cluster has one box for newspaper, two boxes for other kinds of paper including cardboard and two boxes for clean, let me say that again …Clean… plastic and glass containers.
The plastic that is allowed in these boxes has to be marked with a recycling icon that contains the number 1,2 4, or 5. Nothing else is allowed. All cardboard boxes are to be flattened and folded. So I’m always miffed when I cart my squeaky clean containers that have the correct marks, neatly folded cardboard boxes and properly sorted newspapers out to the Blue Boxes only to find that they are stuffed with containers that are half filled with rotting food. Plastic bags of kitchen waste. Large cardboard boxes that have not been flattened and are now filling both of the Blue Boxes designated for paper so that I have no room for my stuff. As well as a whole host of items that are not suppose to be in these Blue Boxes. One day someone filled one of the boxes to overflowing with clothes.
This January our city started the Green Can recycling program for all food waste which in theory is a great idea. I must admit that I feel slightly less guilty when those last two slices of bread go moldy because I know they will be composted and it feels a little less wasteful. However that was January. When it was very cold. When garbage tends to freeze so it keeps nicely between pickups. The weather is starting to warm up and I’m dreading how the Green Can program is going to play out at the height of summer when we have people here that can’t or won’t follow the simple instuctions for using the Blue Boxes which have been around for years.
It will be a stinky mess however the local crows are going to be delighted.
On top of all that I’m just tired of processing items for recycling. I’m tired of washing and drying little plastic containers and their foil lids. I’m tired of peering at badly blurred numbers in the recycling icons and trying to decipher just what the number is. I’m tired of recycling piled up at the end of my kitchen counter waiting to be carted out to the Blue Boxes. I really wish I had the cupboard space for those nifty pull out recycling centers but we have a tiny kitchen and barely enough cupboard space for the stuff we need to keep. I’m tired of the pile of recycling, that does not go into the Blue Boxes, sitting by the front door waiting to go into our tiny storage shed.
Chris and I recycle a lot more items than what the Blue Boxes take. We have given over a fair bit of square footage in our little shed to house recycling bins for these items. There is a group that sets up a recycling depot every third Saturday of each month, rain or shine. We pack up all the soft plastics, styrofoam food containers, hard plastics that do not bear the magic recycling marks, and a bunch of other stuff and take it all down to this recycling depot. Then we pay between $5 and $10 for the privilege.
Remember, I did warn you that this was a rant.
Chris and I have been recycling for over thirty years because we really do understand the importance of it. We understand that the planet is drowning in plastic and styrofoam. That so many creatures die a slow death because they got tangled in plastic or tried to eat it. That shorebirds mistake plastic bottle caps for small stones and swallow them to help with digestion, but the plastic doesn’t work like small stones and the birds can’t digest their food. The list of horrors goes on and on. I really do understand all of this and even though I am sick and tired of recycling I will continue to do it. Faithfully.
I just keep thinking that there has to be a better way.