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OPINION - Done with recycling

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)    My household is no longer a recycling household. I made the decision yesterday afternoon, when, again, my recyclables weren't picked up. Instead they sat in the snow until I got home, where, I suppose, I should take them back into my house, let the snow melt on my floor, and then put them back at the curb to see if they're taken away two weeks from now.

Actually, I'm not playing this game any more. I'm throwing it all out. I've complained about this before .

I'm almost certain that I'm doing something wrong. It could be that I don't have a regular green and white recycling bin. The person who lived here before me must have taken it, and City Hall will charge me $10 for it. I'm not paying for the privilege of recycling. So I went to Wal Mart and bought a similar looking green tub for $3.99. So there'd be no confusion, I wrote "RECYCLING" on the side of it. So it's entirely possible that my non-standard recycling bin is the problem. But -- it gets emptied half time time; the other half it gets left behind.

The most-common recyclable that comes out of my home are 2-liter soda bottles and single-serving water bottles. Perhaps I'm prepping them wrong? I rinse them out, remove the caps, and put them in my bin. Yet there they sit, rejected by the mysterious overlords of recyclables. They'll go straight to the landfill starting next week.

I'm sure I'll hear from many of my readers telling me how environmentally unfriendly I'm being. And they're right. But the truth is, recycling is a minor inconvenience -- and now it's crossed the line to become an annoyance. I know the counter-point. The city loses out of state aid when recycling volume goes down. My pop bottle sits in the landfill for decades before it decomposes, and surely we want to protect mother-Earth for my children and grandchildren. And all of that is true. So if recycling is so critically important, why can't the city and its recycling contractor meet a willing participant half-way? Could they tell me what I'm doing wrong? Or, better still, just haul it away as-is? No, apparently they can't -- so I won't.

While I've been writing this blog the snow's been melting off my used plastic bottles. There's a small puddle on the floor. I'm going to mop it up, and throw the rest out. The ins-and-outs of recycling will be an unsolved conundrum.

Chris Conley

Image: Recycling bin via wikicommons.com