Opinion: Vicious recycle cycle


Mary Ellen and I had our usual Sunday evening conversation.

“Is this the week we put out the recycling?” I asked.

“No, we put it out last week, didn’t we?”

“We did, but they didn’t pick it up, so it must be this week.”

“Maybe we put it out too late and missed the truck,” Mary Ellen said. “Does anyone else have their recycle bin out?”

“Yes, Jerry took his out,” I said.

“You can’t go by him. Jerry puts it out every Monday, Dick.  He’s always the cause of the confusion.”

“Wait, Eric’s putting his out now. I’m going to take ours out, too.”

As I was wheeling our trash and recycling dumpsters out of the garage, Eric called to me.

“Dick, is this the recycling week?”

“I’m not sure, Eric. But Paul’s putting his out.”

I hollered to Paul: “Are you sure this is the week for recycling?”

“I don’t think it is, Dick, but I saw you guys putting yours out, and I figured you knew.”

Within minutes, every house had their yellow-lidded receptacles in the driveway.

“If this is the wrong week, everyone will be blaming us,” Mary Ellen said.

Monday evening, the bins were untouched, so I watched everyone haul their recyclables back into their garages. A lot of people talking trash about the Wolfsies because of the extra work we had caused everyone.

The next morning, I heard Rays Recycling truck approaching.

“NO!” I screamed. It’s Tuesday! Then I remembered, Monday was Martin Luther King Day. No pick-up.

I bolted for the garage and dragged my bin through the snow to the curb.

I felt guilty for messing up everyone, so I organized a neighborhood meeting where we created a recycling schedule for the next 20 years and emailed the spreadsheet to everyone. We included details about what to recycle … with a reminder about which side of the bin should point toward the street.

The whole thing was very educational, but I agree with Kermit the Frog. It’s not easy being green.


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