Monday, August 17, 2009

Trash Tragedy

Have I ever told you about my theory that when you witness something tragic you can dissipate the trauma by telling other people about it? For every person, you tell, in fact, the tragedy is halved, because you've passed part of it onto someone else. Mr. Love-it-or-leav-it absolutely LOVES it when I practice this theory (read: he actually really loathes it.) by saying "Do you want to hear the most HORRIBLE, SAD, GUT-WRENCHING thing I saw today?" Anyhow, I'm going to be employing that here.

I witnessed something terrible the other day. I was driving home from the gym on a Wednesday (yes, I drive to the gym, but that's a story for another time). And right in front of our building was the recycling truck, which made sense, because Wednesday is trash day. And, of course, because this is Boston, the recycling truck was parked in the very middle of the street. Not over to the side so cars could pass by, oh no, but right smack-dab in the middle of the street. And so I waited until I could pass. And while I waited I watched the garbage handlers go about there work while feeling good about our neighborhood's level of responsible recycling and eco-stewardship. And then I realized something horrible was happening: they were dumping all the recycling into the same place!

Now just to be clear, in Cambridge, we do not have co-mingled recycling. We have VERY clearly marked bins to separate paper/cardboard and glass/plastic/metal. There are details instructions on the top of our bins, which I have read carefully many time, and, given that I am the person I am, I follow them strictly. I painstakingly (mostly just painful for Mr. Love-it-or-leav-it) enforce a strict policy of separate recycling, even going so far as to reach in the bin to extract a stray orange juice container or egg carton that has fallen haphazardly into the glass/metal/plastic bin.

And so you understand my GREAT frustration and confusion at seeing all of these bins being dumped into one giant truck. How did I feel? Betrayed, bewildered.....Why would my city play such a dastardly trick on myself and my neighbors? Were they just doing it for sport? Just doing it to see how far we would to follow some arbitrary rules about cardboard recycling format? Recycling is LEGALLY required in Cambridge. Why make it so much for difficult to comply?

Can anyone out there explain this trash tragedy?????

FYI: Here are the instructions:

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