I’m one of those pesky county residents who hauls recycling into town. So why are there still separate Dumpsters, but the fliers taped to them show that we can mix everything but glass? I’m still obsessively separating paper goods, but feel stupid doing it. And what about spaghetti-noodle packages and Kleenex boxes? Should I remove the plastic because the city specifically prohibits “plastic film” from single-stream recycling? I’d don’t want to be “that guy” who contaminates the whole bin. – Conscientious But Confused
Don’t worry about being “that guy.” He already earned this dubious designation earlier this month when Mrs. Action Line was dropping off some glass recycling behind north City Market.
“For Pete’s sake!” she exclaimed, peering into the Dumpster. “What kind of moron would do this? You gotta see it. Unbelievable.”
Mrs. Action Line was correct. Nestled among various shattered bottles of cheap wine and organic salad dressings was a 27-inch Apple iMac computer.
Seriously. Some cretin hucked a huge – and really heavy – iMac into the glass recycling bin. It was an act disturbing on many levels.
First of all, as Mrs. Action Line pointed out, the clear face of the monitor is plastic, not glass. That a person did not comprehend basic materials is shocking.
Not to mention all the hazardous metals housed in said plastic box. That’s why the city has a semi-annual electronics recycling event. By the way, the next one will be here in a couple of weeks: Friday and Saturday, June 14 and 15, at La Plata County Fairgrounds.
Aren’t Apple users supposed to be intelligent, hip and progressive? At least that’s what they want you to think.
The only possible explanation of this appalling Apple appearance is that the previous owner wore black Steve Jobs turtlenecks several sizes too small and the blood supply to his brain was cut off.
Anyway, so there was Mrs. Action Line with arms akimbo looking into a sullied recycling bin. When Mrs. Action Line has her arms akimbo, it’s usually is a sign that something needs to be done.
So the heavy iMac computer was extracted from the bed of glass shards and disposed of properly.
Which is a nice little story with a happy ending, but it doesn’t answer your question. Sorry. Action Line is easily sidetracked.
There is no need to be OCD about separating papers. Just put everything in the bin. Well, not everything.
Single-stream recycling allows you to jettison most jetsam: paper, magazines, steel and aluminum cans, foil and pie plates, cartons, most plastic containers and paper bags.
Forbidden flotsam includes glass, plastic film and bags, disposable utensils and plates, Pyrex, light bulbs, paper towels, food scraps, clothing, yard waste, neon paper, ceramics, Styrofoam, garden hoses and, of course, electronics.
Plastic films and bags aren’t acceptable because they gunk up machines used to process single-stream recycling, according to a city worker who wants to remain “behind the scenes.”
As for envelopes with clear windows, peek-a-boo pasta boxes and tissue cartons with the plastic slit thingy on top, don’t sweat it. “It’s not enough to contaminate the Dumpster or wreck the machinery,” the city worker assured. “People can remove the plastic, but it’s not necessary.”
So if you are going to obsess about sorting paper, be ever vigilant about DayGlo sticky notes and Astrobright sales fliers, which draw attention to themselves anyway.
Meanwhile, the city will get around to new signs at public recycling facilities to avoid confusion.
For more info, see DurangoRecycles.com.
That would be a handy website for “that guy.” But our nincompoop iNon-recycler won’t be pulling up anything on the Internet these days – the dolt threw away his computer!
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you beat the train to Silverton.