Christopher tm Herdt (cherdt) wrote,
Christopher tm Herdt

The Inability to Recycle

Earlier today, Nicola and I went to Maoz. Maoz is basically a fast-food place that serves a limited vegetarian menu: falafel (and toppings) and French fries. Given the other fare within a few hundred feet (a Five Guys, Mirabella Meatball, etc.) you can be fairly certain that Maoz attracts a bit of a hippie/granola element.

I was surprised then, as we were leaving, to see that the trash can had several aluminum cans in it, and the recycling was half trash.

I immediately attributed this to the ignorance of Philadelphians. It's easy to blame things on Philadelphians because many of them are louts and because I am among them but not of them. But after some thought, I've reconsidered.

Why people might be putting their recycling in the trash:
  1. The recycling bin is a cardboard box with a blue plastic liner and is otherwise unlabelled.
  2. The recycling box is shorter than the trashcan, so people may not notice it.
  3. The recycling box is placed closer to the exit. Someone on their way out might see only the one receptacle and put everything, including their aluminum cans there.
That's still infuriating to me, but I have to remember that there is no can/bottle deposit in Pennsylvania, and citywide recycling efforts are still quite young compared to say, oh, anyplace else I've ever lived.

Why people might be putting their trash in the recycling:
  1. The trash has a closed lid that you have to push trash through. No one wants to touch that nasty trash can lid.
  2. The recycling box is wide open, and unlabelled. You're supposed to know that it is recycling based on the blue plastic liner alone. This is non-obvious, especially for Philadelphians, who have no experience with recycling anyway.
Perhaps if the receptacles were properly labelled, if the recycling was in front of the trash (or at least equally visible), and the trash was easier to use, even a Philadelphian could figure it out.

Or maybe not. At Penn the recycling bin for aluminum has a circular opening with a diameter that suggests aluminum cans should be inserted. I still see the fine Ivy Leaguers throwing their cans in the trash.

Am I infuriated by this solely because I am from Michigan?
Tags: aluminum, maoz, michigan, pet peeves, philadelphia, recycling

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