Recycle Psych

June 14th, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

MA Rep. Marty Walz got me this morning. She posted on FB that she was heading to Casella, the company that does the single-stream recycling around here. She wants to see how it works.

Who doesn’t, I immediately thought. My quasi-intellectual self suddenly flashed mild shame that I had never bothered to do the same, even remotely.

I confess though, I’ve enjoyed the romance of rubbish here. Conflicting ideas include:

  1. They haul away the content of the big blue bins…only to end up dumping it into landfills anyway.
  2. There’s a rough sorting that extracts a little of the stuff they can actually resell.
  3. Something magic happens somewhere.

We had our own family history. In the way back, my paternal grandfather in Denver created a tin can crusher during WWII. Back then toddlers couldn’t squeeze and ball up a can, before those became thin aluminum. He was considered patriotic and tin went back into the war effort in easy to handle form.

When we moved to JP may years ago, the city began its pilot program for multi-bin and very limited recycling. A few things,  like newspapers wrapped and tied, or certain types of clean cans could go on the curb in separate BOSTON RECYCLES plastic boxes. It was a bit of a pain, which I accepted and my wife refused. Moreover, the pick-up crew seemed to delight in tossing the boxes as far and hard as they could. The street had many slivered and patched survivors on the curb.

tommytrashNext, the city liked the results and trialed single-stream recycling. Those came with boxes nearly as big as our mayor. Our area was a pilot. Here, many folk including my wife said, “Allllll right!” because it was easy to toss the many types of stuff into a big box.

So, the joke and question came whether the recycling elves really separated and used this diverse bunch of stuff.

Rep. Walz inspired me today. I headed over to the company site. There’s an overblown and self-serving set of talking heads in a five minute video. In snatches behind them, there’s a recap of the sorting process. If you stick through it, you see how the process works. There’s one minute of video behind the fluff (not sorted, eh?).

Another page has stills of the machinery in sorting and preparing. This could use a caption with each pic, but between the vid and these, I believe they honestly do recycle our materials. We aren’t wasting our time. There is money to be made, meaning it is worth everyone’s trouble.

I already like Walz. She is one of our few MA legislative bicycle champions. Now she made me debunk my elf fantasies about recycling.


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