Let me say right off that I do recycle. Still. I used to be a Recycler (note the capital R) when we lived in Santa Cruz, California. (Some country-western song years ago told you to live in Santa Cruz once, but leave before it makes you too soft. But that’s another story.) Anyway, I was an uber-recycler. I had bins for glass, paper, cardboard, cans, plastic, and yard waste. I dutifully washed the glass, plastic, and cans and removed labels. Of course, then I read in the newspaper that recyclables were all being dumped in the landfill. Okay, yet another notation in the why-I’m-so-cynical-about-government file.
I didn’t give up recycling; after all, it kept me from having to pay for trash pickup for two trash cans. But I wasn’t so diligent anymore. And when we moved to New England, let’s just say they’re not big on Recycling. (I’m will not discuss the incidents with the trashman because it didn’t have too much to do with recycling.)
Fast-forward to Chattanooga. They’re actually fairly recycling friendly. We recycle all of our yard waste—the city picks it up for free and they give out free mulch, which helps with water conservation. (I’m totally into “free.”) Plus, they have monitored recycling centers that are clean and easy to use. Just drop it off. Anything from motor oil to batteries to paper, etc.
I know you’re asking yourself, “I thought this post was about recycling Luke-style.” Be patient, we’re coming to that right now. Last Sunday night, we forgot to put out the trashcan. The college kids were over and we forgot—trash pickup is in the wee hours of Monday morning so there was no reprieve.
Now we have a full trashcan and no where to put this week’s garbage. So Cal instituted Trash Austerity. He set up an extra trash can next to the kitchen trash can and labeled it “paper.” He told us that every bit of paper waste needed to go into the paper can. We all nodded dutifully.
Things worked fine. Until Cal went to empty the paper can.
He pulled out the liner and yelled, “Who put papertowels covered in bacon grease into the recycling can?”
Answer: Luke. His explanation: Paper towels are made of paper and, therefore, belong in the paper recycling.
Cal and I explained that “contaminated” paper is NOT recyclable.
Luke: Ah, right.
Another day or two passes.
I looked into the paper recyclables and saw a dead squished cockroach. (Cockroaches are coming out of dormancy and seeking for a warm home.) I yelled for Luke. It turns out that Luke didn’t think that cockroaches were all that contaminating. (I get that they are “clean” bugs, but...) Anyway, we have a few more days left before Sunday. I wonder what else will turn up in the paper bin.