Friday, July 20, 2007

Recycling in DC

Yesterday, I complained about not being able to find recycling. Our trash is apparently an issue, as my roomies and I have been putting it in the wrong place this whole time. The things that happen when you share a small apartment with a lot of people after being used to an actual house.

Today, my roommates and I discovered that there is a "recycling" bin behind our building. We knew there was a Dumpster behind the house, but previously thought we had to be able to get into the main house (which we don't have keys to) to access it. So, we'd just been putting bags of trash on the curb and not recycling. The bags always disappeared. After a week-long dispute (and by "dispute" I mean that each of us had the same reason for not doing it, but we didn't really discuss it) over who should take the bags sitting just outside our door to the curb, we learned that we can walk around to get to the cans. We learned this when a rep from the housing office stopped by. As the only person who was home, I suddenly became the one who had to remove the trash. As usual, I took it to the curb. Two of the other three roomies got phone calls later in the day informing them of where we actually take it.

Anyway, we saw what appeared to be a "recycling" bin; however, my boss tells me there's no recycling program in DC and that he's not even confident that newspapers go to the recycling plant. This has me worried that the bin behind the house is for newspapers only. He didn't seem to think that I could put real recycling in it.

This came up because I asked him where I could recycle the stacks of paper (news budgets, print-outs of stories, etc) and empty water/soda bottles that accumulate every day. He said: "You mean real recycling? Nowhere in the District."

It blows my mind that in the nation's capital, a city that is so dedicated to a clean subway station that a 12-year-old was once arrested for eating a French fry (thus violating the strict "no food or drink" law) in the station, can't fucking recycle. Seriously.

With all the fighting over global warming, you'd think somewhere, a Senator would say "Hmm. Maybe the nation's capital should be setting the example of how to have a good recycling program!"

I am complaining about this not just because I'm a tree-hugging Oregonian, but because I'm blown away that there's all this talk about saving the earth, and yet I can't even recycle my paper and soda bottles. With the amount of bottled water my roomies and I drink (I've never been able to deal with tap water that's chlorinated. Makes me feel sick), we're being so wasteful it's disgusting. And all this paper at work. Just horrible.

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