Recycling in the wheel

Not being confrontational, I still wanted to speak with my new neighbor.  I knew her name and address because she put a giant box with a shipping label into the recycling cart.  Inside the box was a styrofoam cooler of the sort used for shipping holiday hams.  Inside the cooler were strange thawed and leaky cold-packs and bubble wrap, plus the soggy remains of some form of food.

Back in 2004-05, it was a struggle to get the condo homeowners to accept a recycling program at the complex.  The city was going to provide recycling collection at no cost to our complex, something no other multifamily complex, apartment or condo, received. 

Over the years participation has grown for this completely voluntary effort.  We started with four carts emptied biweekly, and now have a dozen carts emptied weekly.  Many enthusiastic residents help move the full carts into position for the weekly collection by the city truck.  My responsibility is still making sure the carts are in position, and keeping track of holiday schedule changes, plus educating residents about the city's accepted materials for recycling.  It's a way to serve my community that sure beats a three-year term on the condo association board!  It's also self-serving, because I would otherwise have to save and haul my recyclables to a central city collection point. 

Deep down I know that people don't read signs.  Still, I was perturbed that the new neighbor hadn't noted any of the recycling requirements listed on the cart:
  • Flatten boxes to conserve space. 
  • Make sure lids on the carts can close so paper stays dry and doesn’t blow.
  • Only clean, dry cardboard.
  • No plastic wrapping, toys, or bags in the carts.
  • Styrofoam is not recyclable. No packing materials, “peanuts”, or cups.
  • Glass, metal, and plastic should be free of food.
Psyching up, I gathered the styrofoam cooler, a recycling flyer, and the shipping label.  I ordered my thoughts about welcoming the neighbor and explaining our recycling program.  This would be a pleasant chat, and then I would happily take her nonrecyclables to the trash dumpster. 

Part of me worried I might receive a classic playground challenge like, "Says who?" or " Gonna make me?" or "So what?"  Guess I'm still the littlest kid at recess.

My new neighbor has at least two preteen daughters.  The one who answered the door never stopped talking on her cellphone while I explained my wish to talk to her mom. 

The door closed, then reopened.  The daughter, still on her cell, said the mom was "working on her wheel" and "on the phone".  I handed her the cooler.  Could she please tell her mom these items were not recyclables?

Many questions come to mind:
  • Is my new neighbor a potter?
  • Is she a hamster? 
  • How can a person working with clay on a wheel use a phone?
  • How can a hamster in a wheel use a phone?
  • Can hamsters throw pots?
  • Why can't a preteen set down her phone to talk to a real, live human?

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

You may feel free to borrow my line anytime: "Inquiring Minds Want to Know!"

Collagemama said...

Just popping by to ask if you are a hamster ceramic artist?


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