Thursday, October 11, 2012

What to do with that wrapper

To continue my meditation on strengths of the US, the following scene happens regularly at Chez Barefoot.

Partner walks into the kitchen with various plastic containers from dinner.
Me: Here, let me toss those.
Partner: Shouldn't we recycle them?
Me: In [this country]*? No.
Partner spends a minute trying to find the little triangle with the number in it, fails, sighs, hands me the plastic. 
There's a piece of paper on our refrigerator with the recycling schedule on it. It also says that His Town aims to get to hit a goal of 43% recycling by April 2013. I am stunned. The town will charge me about $170 to safely dispose of my old laptop. It will also charge me the same amount of money to dispose safely of my used batteries. Our old electronics are traveling back to the states with us for our next visit.

My department doesn't recycle paper. My apartment complex in My City doesn't have a dumpster for recycling. I wish I could say this means that I've done the extra research necessary to find out where the central recycling station is in My City and taken my burrito wrappers and glass bottles there, but I am not that dedicated.

As my partner pointed out to me, the US is both the birthplace of the modern environmental movement and the Tea Party. It is home to both Rush Limbaugh and Noam Chomsky. To not give the country credit for both is to do it injustice.

*To be fair, some of this has surprised colleagues raised in neighboring countries, where the stigma for not recycling is stronger than in the US.


  1. You can dispose your old laptop for free, leave it on a park bench and disappear :)

  2. Yeah, but then when the disappointed thief finds that it is a laptop without a hard drive (which I've removed as a cheap way to back up my data) he/she'll just throw it away anyway..... Um. I'm over thinking this, aren't I? ;)

  3. Ya...but once you leave it in the park/train/bus and get the hell out of there, it isnt your problem no more :P

  4. Antisocial ScientistOctober 14, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    This reminds me of a secondary school biology teacher I had who couldn't be bothered to follow the bio-waste regulations. Instead, after the frog dissection lab each year he would buy a nice new backpack, put all the frog guts into it, and leave said backpack in plain sight in a local park. He figured that the contents became the problem of whoever took the bag.

    This scheme ran into a wall when a helpful police officer saw a backpack sitting on a bench wanting to be stolen and took it in...