Slap My Wrist

Don’t call me green. Well, I guess you can, green is a pretty nice color. Just don’t call me Green. As in, eco-friendly, bandwagon jumping, holier than thou “Green”. Now I know I’ve stepped into a pretty sticky, tricky area here. Stay with me for just a few more lines.

I’m not an evangelistic eco-warrior. I don’t buy products with a “green label” just because they’re Green. I do not own a hybrid vehicle, nor do I own a Smart Car. (A Smart Car is a ridiculous concept in a Cleveland winter, don’t you think?) I definitely do not consider myself “Green”. I generally scoff at people who seemingly love to mention, constantly, how Green they are. As in, “I bought this new purse, it’s Vegan!”

I know I’m in trouble now. I’ve just slammed vegans, hybrid vehicles and the like. I might as well go right over the guardrail and say that little baby kittens and puppies suck too.

So here’s my story.

Garbage day is Thursday. About a year ago, the city supplied every home with a huge, wheeled garbage container. The instructions stated that this receptacle was to be placed at the curb by 6:30 a.m. on our assigned garbage day.

The receptacle is big but probably not nearly large enough if you don’t recycle.

What?? You don’t recycle?

Well, we didn’t recycle *everything* until the new garbage can/recycling guidelines were in place. I know, I know, I know. The other part of the new guidelines is that glass, metal, plastic, paper and cardboard need to be sorted, bundled and placed on the curb separately.

Here’s the catch…the city supplied receptacle is dumped into a garbage truck by an automated arm. No one sees what you’ve dumped into the receptacle. How does the city really know if you’ve recycled anything? Or recycled everything, for that matter? So we’re all good citizens and follow the guidelines, right?


I’ve voluntarily recycled paper, cardboard and glass for ten years. We still get newspaper delivery and also have at least 10 magazine subscriptions. And for some weird reason, we always have a nice sized stack of cardboard every week, too. It’s always seemed like such a waste to dump all this in a landfill, so I recycle it all.

So, I guess if you haven’t sorted and bundled properly or committed any other myriad of minor “garbage infractions” the city issues you a yellow tag. Weirdly like a soccer game? Yes, a yellow tag.

Guess what I got this morning?


Bundling or not bundling my cardboard…I guess.

I’ll gladly try to mend my ways. I’m glad I live in a city that has a recycling program. I’m also glad I live in a city that has recycling “guidelines” rather than recycling laws. Laws usually come with fines, so I’m glad we’re not fined for infractions.

Until today, I was a card carrying, non-Green, don’t stick a label on me, especially a Green-label, kind of gal. I’m perturbed enough about my yellow tag to blog about it. Is this a momentary lapse for me or is something else at work?

So, I’d love to hear from you…
What’s the recycling program like in your city? Is your wrist slapped or are you fined for infractions? Do you even care about recycling at all? Should I just get over myself about this whole Green thing?

About hellpellet

a little pellet of hell
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2 Responses to Slap My Wrist

  1. Cookbook says:

    So does the tag come with a fine? Does it stay on your can until you comply? Weird.

    I do care about recycling but am not militant about it. Sometimes cardboard ends up in the regular trash. *shrugs*

    The suburb I live in doesn’t slap your wrists for “infractions,” and it’s totally voluntary, but as far as I can tell most of the people in my neighborhood do it. All they ask is that you bundle the cardboard/newspaper stuff together and put the glass, aluminum, etc. into clear or blue bags — even grocery bags will do. It makes it pretty easy.

  2. Beth says:

    I think the green movement preys on guilt. That’s all. There is no way we’re making a dent, but it sure makes us feel better. It’s all politics. Politicians want to be seen in a good light by the crazy green peoples. I’m not advocating waste though. I think we all need to be smart about what we buy. And manufactures need to get on board with better packaging, less wasteful blah blah blah.

    When we got our first apartment we were lazy and did not recycle. About 3 months in we got a nice nasty yellow card stuck to our door. It said something about a fine etc etc. So now we always make sure to have as much recycling out as our neighbors.

    We take turns each week stalking the sidewalk bins on trash night. Sometimes stealing their empty, used soda cans so we can look like we’re doing our part too. It’s like a damn competition now. “I’m greener!” “I’m vegan!”

    So yeah, slightly off topic. Sorry. Yes. Pittsburgh has fines for non-recycling mean earth haters.

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