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Recycling woes — just in time for Earth Day

April 20, 2010

I’m pissed. last week my recycling wasn’t picked up, though my trash was. Today my recycling box is gone, so I don’t know if the regular trash people took all my recycling including the box, or the recycling company took them or what. But this is the second time and I’m pissed. I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let me start from the beginning.

PhiladelphiaRecycles-1Betty and I moved to Philly from Washington, DC several years ago. We were in the habit of recycling in DC. In fact, I’ve recycled everywhere I’ve lived most of my adult life– I went to the very first Earth Day in Philadelphia in 1970 when I was in high school. When we moved into our new home I immediately checked the web for recycling information. At that time it said that the “official” (i.e., ugly blue) recycling bins were not necessary and I could simply write “recycling” on the side of any plastic bin under a certain size and it would be picked up. So that’s what I did. I wrote “recycling” on a green plastic bin.

Trash day came and went, and the recyclables stayed on the curb. The next week, I put them out again, and again they stayed on the curb. Week after week I put them out. Finally, I think the regular trash collectors took pity on me because one day they were gone, bin and all!

I double checked the website, and I double checked the map to make sure our block was on the collection route. And I looked around. None of my neighbors ever put out recycling bins. So I stopped trying and that’s how it stood for the past four-plus years.

Philly has a new recycling initiative because it costs less for them to recycle than to throw everything in the trash. I decided to try again. But being the artist that I am, and hating the look of the ugly blue bins, with handwritten house numbers, I decided to design a sticker to put on my nice green bin so it’s obvious that this is to be recycled. I put off doing it, and then, January 30, 2010, I went out to shovel the snow. A rolled up ticket from the city fell to my feet when I opened the door. It was dated the previous trash day and it was $50 for not recycling!

I checked off the “Hearing Request Box” on the back of the ticket and wrote out a complaint that includes this story, and sent the ticket back. I haven’t heard back from the city yet.

Well, that ended my procrastination, and I completed the work of designing my first recycling sticker, and put it on Zazzle. The sticker is customizable, and has our house number on it, so I ordered two for myself. They arrived, I put them on either side of a new green bin, and tried again. The first time I put them out, they were overlooked. But most of the folks on my block don’t recycle yet. My block is half residential and half business, the next block up is mostly residential and I see more bins there. But, I put them out again in March and pah! I’m now recycling in Philly!

Until today. When the bin was gone again.

I guess I’ll try a third time. But I’m thinking of new stickers to make. Something along the lines of “TAKE THE TRASH, NOT THE BIN!”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 12:36 am

    My friend Carolyn thinks it’s not the trashmen who are taking the bin, but my neighbors or a passerby. She thinks this because her free ugly blue bin was stolen from in front of her house, too. What do you think?

  2. March 1, 2012 11:47 am

    Rochester, New York, has a good curbside-recycling program, for which I am grateful. Years ago, my housemates bought for me a set of three black bins with gray lids that have hinged deposit flaps. Very handy for sorting and storing recyclables. I used to put one of them on the curb with other recycling containers, as additional bins for recyclables are okay if the city-provided blue or green ones are insufficient. But one morning, after trash and recyclables had been picked up, I realized I was missing the black bin. My housemate looked here and there, up and down, but it was not to be found. Someone had evidently come by during the wee hours and pilfered it.

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