Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I hate recycling

My HT pal Renaldo writes every post in his blog about something he hates. (See that link to the right?)

Tonight, I'm going to give in to peer pressure and write about something I hate: recycling.

OK, it's not that I hate recycling as a concept. I hate recycling in the practical sense. Well, it's more like, I hate recycling in Hillsborough.

Why? Because it's one-third fun, one-third work and one-third the complete and utter suck.

Here's the deal: We recycle three things every other Tuesday: cans and bottles; newspaper; and cardboard.

Cans and bottles are fun. They give us this big blue barrel that we can keep in our garage and just fill with cans and bottles. Basketball!

Newspaper is work, but easy work. You've got to tie them into bundles with twine. I can deal with that. I only put out the cans when the barrel is full, but I only put out the papers when I've got enough of them that I worry about the structural integrity of the garage shelf I toss them on. So like tonight, I put out about three months' worth of the paper.

But it's the cardboard that's the complete and utter suck. Why? Because we can't just break down the boxes and tie them up. (Wow, that sounds way too S&M...) No. For whatever reason, in Hillsborough, we have to cut the cardboard into 2-foot-by-2-foot squares. The only good part is they don't require mathematical precision. (And no, when I lived in another part of New Jersey, we didn't have to do this - the boxes just had to be broken down flat and tossed in the right dumpster in the complex.)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to cut, say, the box a couch came in, into 2x2 squares?

Let me put it this way: In three years in Hillsborough, I've put out the cardboard twice. I've got a mountain of boxes in the back of the garage so high it's got its very own Sherpas to guide the Brits and Jon Krakauer. And I'm devoting an entire Monday of my vacation week in October to cutting boxes and clearing out the garage.

Last time I did it, I wore gloves, used a box cutter, and my fingers still hurt like hell when I was done.

So every time I park my car, I have this irrational (or possibly rational) fear of a cardboard avalanche. And while I can drag the barrel outside, and tie up the papers pretty easily on a random Monday night after work, the hours it takes to deal with the cardboard would probably keep me up until dawn.

Not that I'm not up until dawn sometimes anyway, but it's not a goal. Hell, I snuck a couple of small boxes into the trash, also collected Tuesdays, just to avoid adding to the pile.

And that's why I hate recycling.

Hillsborough recycling information
Why recycling is good, and apparently shouldn't be torture
Cardboard, Wikipedia-style