Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blue Box Mystery


I'm a radio talk-show junkie, but only once have I come close to actually phoning in to a program. On that occassion my very favourite talk-show host was complaining about the people who were driving down her street on garbage/recycling day and rummaging through her blue box to take the recyclables that could be returned for the deposit money. She felt it was some kind of impingement on her privacy or maybe - though I don't quite remember - she was bothered by the noise of the rummaging.


I was really bugged by this. First of all, I can't understand why anyone would put bottles and cans that can be returned for a deposit into the blue box in the first place. Granted, I have the space, but I always save these things for those kids who are doing bottle-drives and who come around to collect them. And besides, I think the 'rummagers' are industrious, hard-working people. They must really need the money so why would those who are recycling their returnables be bothered by this?


Lately I've noticed there are fewer and fewer bottle-drives being organized (in my neighbourhood anyway) so I tend to acquire a lot of 'returnables'. I've begun taking beer cans and wine bottles back to the liquor store when I am going there anyway and I give the deposit money to whatever charity is outide looking for donations. It's a win-win situations. I am, however, too lazy to haul back the juice/soft drink containers which collect as fast as the dust bunnies in this house yet I still won't put them in the blue box or, even worse, the garbage. Someone wants/needs the money that they can get by returning them. I decided to try a small experiment. A few months ago, on recycling day, I put a small, clear plastic bag with cans and bottles beside my blue box in hopes that one of the 'rummagers' would pass by and collect them before the recycling truck did. I hoped that because they weren't in the blue box, the truck wouldn't take them if they were still there.


It worked. At some point before the recycling truck arrived, I noted that the bag had disappeared.


For quite a few weeks now I've left a bag of returnable items next to my blue box. Each week they've disappeared before the truck arrives. Last week I got confused and put my garbage/recyclables out on the wrong day. The bag of returnables STILL disappeared! Hmmm. I began wondering if it was one of my neighbours that was taking them, but that would surprise me. Tonight I took the blue box out accompanied by a very large bag of returnables. I went back into the house to collect up the newspapers and by the time I made it back to the curb, the bag of returnables was already gone! 99% of me finds huge joy in this. The system is working. Those people who need the returnables are actually finding them before the recycling truck hauls them away. But tonight, 1% of me feels a little creeped out. Who is watching my curb so closely??

14 comments:

Giggles said...

Hi Shelley....that would be my daughter who cashes in every bottle she can find. She's the recycle police, or princess. Depends how you look at it! Adamant her staff recycle ALL bottles carelessly disposed with the trash. She carts huge bags home.Then she'll treat them to something fun!

Probably a neighbor kid riding a bike who noted the bottles once, now continues to seek them. It's a good cash grab for kids! Thanks for sharing this cute story!

Hugs Sherrie

Leslie said...

OK, I confess it was me.

Seriously, once again you have inspired me to do better. I am not very dedicated to recycling everything I could/should but maybe now I will be more vigilant. My daughter must be the "recycling princess" of the Seattle, WA chapter and she would certainly be happier with her family if they took it more seriously.

It's people like you, Shelley, who make our world a better place. Thanks!

Leslie said...

It's time for more please, Shelley.

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