Friday, December 04, 2009

Don't You Make That Indian Cry

In the past, when we had friends and family over for parties or meals or to watch a game, they'd stand in the kitchen with an empty beer bottle and look around, asking, "Do you guys recycle?" We'd say, "No, just throw it in the trash." Eventually, we learned to say, "No, we've been meaning to, and we really should, but just throw it in the trash."

Some of our relatives lived a long time in Germany, and they had adopted the insane recycling techniques of that country, where you separate your potato skins from your cabbage cores, your brown glass from your green glass from your clear glass, your clean cardboard from your printed cardboard, and so on. If you do not do this in Germany, the town's Burgermeister or Magistrate or some such official will put one of those real estate agent locks on your front door and mark off your yard in caution tape, your children become wards of the state and you are sent to do community service at the shipyards in Bremerhaven.

Another of our relatives is simply a do-gooder lefty, who went about changing all of our lightbulbs to the new florescents on a visit a year ago. He's been a crazy recycler since the invention of the 2-liter Coke bottle, and he would always seem disappointed when he stood there at the trash can, empty beer bottle in hand, asking once again, "You guys don't recycle, do you?"

At school, the kids are made to think that families that don't recycle are just like those factories in China, bellowing smoke and ash into the atmosphere and requiring that citizens walk the streets in dust masks. This form of education goes hand in hand with the other programs that tell children that people who keep wine or beer in their homes are only steps away from heroin addiction.

I finally gave in. I started recycling. And now when I find an empty water bottle or a cardboard box in the trash, I fish it out and track down the offender, demanding of them, "Do you HATE the PLANET?" They know I'm joking, but the household is having a hard time adjusting to my new Nazi Recycling Regime. And I'm having a hard time justifying it. I hear it requires an insane amount of energy and money to convert used materials into new materials, and I feel like an idiot standing at the sink trying to coax a lime wedge out of a Corona bottle so that it doesn't attract the raccoons and bears once it's in the garage along with smelly old bean cans, stinking milk jugs and not-quite-rinsed jam jars.

But hey, they made me do it.

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  • Yeah. I remember wondering (after our daughter was born) which was worse: clogging up the landfill with disposable diapers, or rinsing her shit down the drain with the laundry.

    Where the fuck is the Invisible Hand when you actually have a question? (Yeah, it's busy...)

    By Blogger Rick, at December 4, 2009 at 10:15 AM  

  • Meanwhile, city officials are are begging for trash at the landfill and increasing tipping fees to cover the shortage...

    By Anonymous dirtsister, at December 4, 2009 at 5:57 PM  

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