Saturday, October 24, 2009

Too good to be true

As the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When the disposal company we were doing business started charging us a fee for recycling, I took our business to another company. We got a better rate for our dumpster and, even better, no-sort recycling.

I take recycling pretty seriously. It just about kills me to see recyclables in the dumpster. I visited a landfill once and was appalled to see how much of the trash there could have been recycled. Every time I'm tempted to toss a cottage cheese container instead of rinsing and recycling it, some inner force moves me to do what's right, rather than what's easier. So, everything in our household that bears a little triangle – from empty toilet paper rolls to steel cans – gets recycled. Even recyclables from the barn are sorted out. You'd be surprised how much barn trash can be recycled.

The worst part about recycling, other than remembering to put it out, is sorting it. So I really, really loved no-sort recycling. We have three cans in our kitchen, one for recyclables, one for dumpster trash and one for gutter stuff – food scraps, paper towels, etc. With no-sort recycling, when the can was full I just emptied it into the recycling cart. It was a breeze.

I had often wondered how it was possible to sort all of that recycling out, but our disposal company claimed it had a machine that sorted the recyclables. I probably should have paid more attention to those questions in my head.

We found out on Saturday that our disposal company's license has been revoked as a result of several violations – one of which was commingling recyclables and non-sorted trash. By the time I finished reading the newspaper article about the claims, I was fuming. I still can't believe that all my recyclables ended up in a landfill somewhere. My anger about the fate of my recyclables is minor, however, compared to my feelings about being misled.

Our new dumpster will arrive next week. And I'll be back to separating my paper, plastic and metals. At least now it will be recycled.

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