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:
- The recycling bin is a cardboard box with a blue plastic liner and is otherwise unlabelled.
- The recycling box is shorter than the trashcan, so people may not notice it.
- 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.
Why people might be putting their trash in the recycling:
- The trash has a closed lid that you have to push trash through. No one wants to touch that nasty trash can lid.
- 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.
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?