The Weekly Rant with Gary Patella

Thoughts and ideas on various grievances that are relevant to everyday life.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How To Recycle: Another Guide For Morons

Nowadays there is a big push for people to "go green." I do not wish to comment on the movement itself, other than to say that some people take it to unnecessary extremes. Nevertheless, I suppose the effort should be considered noble since it does aim to try to undo some of the havoc this species has wreaked on the planet for centuries.

In line with this effort, recycling programs have been around for quite some time. The basics of recycling seem fairly simple. Metal, glass and plastic goes in one container, cardboard and paper in another, and regular garbage in a third. Now there are distinctions between which type of products can be recycled and which cannot. There are enough distinctions that I cannot fault someone who accidentally tries to recycle a broken light bulb or a plastic bag. However, the basic items such as beer bottles and cardboard should be fairly easy to figure out.

Yet despite the amount of time the recycling programs have been around, there are a great many people that fail to grasp the concept. Curbside recycling programs have been around for nearly twenty years. One would think that this is enough time to figure it out. But apparently human stupidity even exceeds my estimates.

Now I am not a person that can be considered "green" by any stretch of the imagination. I don't really care if someone doesn't choose to recycle. That is pretty much his or her business. But what does concern me is the mistakes that take place in my own home. If you happen to eat at a person's house, you may come across two separate containers. One container is filled with all types of things: crumpled paper, discarded food, dirty paper plates, et cetera. In essence, one is filled with trash. The other container has nothing but cans and bottles. Into which container should you scrape off your plate when you finish eating?

If you knew that it should be the container with all of the trash, congratulations! You know more than most people. If you did not know the correct answer, take solace in the fact that although you are dumb, you are still part of the majority. We can forget the fact that the garbage bags also have different colours. One is a regular black or white trash bag and the other is a clear blue bag. But we cannot expect the majority of people to distinguish between such things. After all, colours were taught back in kindergarten. We can't expect the average person to remember something from so long ago.

Common sense should let someone know the correct course of action. But the term "common sense" is most likely a misnomer. Sadly, it is not so common after all. And this annoys me greatly. In fact, even when this faux pas of using the wrong can occurs at someone else's domicile I get annoyed. It may not be my problem, but it is the problem of the host or hostess. And I find it just plain rude to soil the recycling bin with gravy, chicken bones, and rice after others have spent the night carefully discarding the trash in its proper container.

So to those violators out there, please be more careful when discarding trash in another's home. The method should really be quite simple. You already fall in with the majority in terms of your stupidity. Now have your trash fall in with the majority as well. If you are discarding a beer bottle, have that beer bottle join the can filled with all of the others. Let him take part of the majority. Don't make him the iconoclast. The same goes for pure trash. Don't let it become isolated and lonely amongst a sea of recyclables. Let it join in the fun with all of the other trash. That way both you and your trash can be part of a majority.

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