You’re doing it wrong

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Most people are excellent recyclers, but a few really ruin it for everybody else.

You ever have one of those days where you could just punch someone in the face? I could have punched three people in the face today.

I love my job. Despite digging through garbage, lifting 60 lb tvs, and breaking down an endless number of cardboard boxes, I enjoy being the recycling director. I love doing something that can improve our world. I love working with people and educating others about recycling. I love seeing the entire county from North to South the 90 mile trip is beautiful. Newton County should truly be proud of its homes, communities, businesses and natural resources.

But there are some days…when I think every idiot within the tri-county area comes to the recycling bins. Some days I meet these people and some days I don’t, I just find their discards in the bins. Or should I say catch? I catch these people throwing their diapers, food waste, yard waste, construction debri, etc, into the recycling bins, and it REALLY REALLY PISSES ME OFF. I wonder why it irritates me so much, and if my feelings are warranted. Josh (my husband) laughs at me sometimes, about how angry I get when I find trash. But the truth is, he’s the same way. Josh recently put up a pivot and a few months ago someone stole the copper wire from it. The theft was covered by insurance, Josh and his dad installed increased security so that if theft is attempted again, they’ll immediately be alerted. But Josh was IRATE that someone had stolen the copper wire. He called numerous scrap metal dealers trying to find the culprits. Even though the theft, along with others in the area, was being handled by the police.

Why were we both so angry? Because we take pride in our work. The idea that someone could so easily deface it, when we work so hard, that people could be so lazy and disrespectful, is infuriating.
I carefully rinse out every plastic container. Check to make sure the number matches what is accepted by Newton County (#1-5 and #7, no #6 or styrofoam), break down boxes, crush cans and all plastic bottles and milk jugs. Then some idiot comes along and dumps his/her trash in because s/he can afford cigarettes but not trash pickup, ridiculous.

And I have to be honest, I’m accustomed to the trash. But today someone argued with me about it. And I could have seriously punched that individual in the face. S/he wanted to dump a pvc pool in the bin. Now, just because something is plastic does not mean it is recyclable. Look for the number, if it has a number and that number is taken by your recycling facility, then it can go in the bin. This material had no number, and I knew that it was made out of a non-recyclable plastic by the look of it. S/he informed me that s/he lived in the country and didn’t have trash pick-up. Now, how is that my problem? How is that the county’s problem? I live in the country and I have trash pick-up. I also live in the country and don’t have a sidewalk…so I guess the county should come and poor a concrete slab for me.
This person’s logic just doesn’t make sense.

I informed this person that the item is not accepted, but that Newton County residents can take their trash for free to the landfill. S/He laughed and said if I wasn’t there he would dump it in, or maybe I could put it in my vehicle…

Yeah, that’s a great idea.

I took down his/her license plate number. I’m sure I’ll find the item in the bin tomorrow.

So, you have been warned, don’t put your trash in the bin. I’ll find out and I’ll definitely be turning your information over to the county attorney.

Questions about what is and isn’t recyclable? Awesome! Please ask! Click here

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