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Let's Talk Trash

September 5, 2019

My town recently changed its curb-side recycling program. When we bought this house, the previous owner was kind enough to leave the original flyer from when the program was initiated on the side of the fridge. It had a handy chart of items that were (milk cartons) and were not (pizza boxes) recyclable. I bought a double trashcan for the kitchen so one side could be for garbage and the other side for recycling. 

 

I first read about these recent program changes on social media. I work in PR so of course I follow local elected officials on twitter. I read the changes and was all, "Hmm...no more plastic bags or glass." Well, that's okay. Most of our recycling is cardboard boxes (from Amazon), paper grocery sacks (from Aquistapace's) and aluminum cans (from Bubly).

 

Then I read an interview with the mayor after he toured the plant of the recycling company that had the new city contract. He was surprised to learn - as was I - that "no plastic bags" meant you can no longer line your recycling trashcan with a plastic trash bag and throw the whole thing into the curb-side recycling cans. Oh, okay then; so not, "We don't recycle plastic bags" but "You can not have any plastic bags in your recycling bin." The original flyer had stressed that your recycling can not have food debris on it (that's why no pizza boxes), so I already rinsed out my soup cans and milk jugs before tossing them in the recycling side of my trash can. I figured a lack of liner on that side wouldn't be the end of the world since it's not garbage and the items are clean.  

 

The water bill came from the city and it had a new flyer in it with all these changes outlined. I felt like I was all set. I let the housekeeper know about the changes since she empties the trash on Fridays. I wanted her to understand why the bag was gone from that side and that anything dripping out of it was just water. I'm kind of obsessed with making sure my housekeeper doesn't think we're gross. I live in fear that one day she is going to show up at my house and go NOPE.

 

Look, I'm the middle child. My older sister is the smart one. My younger brother is the baby boy. I'm the performer. Which is all just to say, I CARE VERY MUCH WHAT YOU THINK OF ME.

 

Which explains why I am now focused on being the very best recycler ever. I smugly read posts on Nextdoor of citizens who were confused and annoyed that their recycling had not been picked up but instead had been wrapped in yellow caution tape. This is what the new company does if your recycling is unacceptable - say, has plastic bags in it. They wrap it in yellow caution tape and make the trash company take it instead. Shame! Shame! Shame!

 

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