Recycling woes: People amaze me

People still don’t get it.
Originally uploaded by carlweaver

I work in an office in DC, where recycling is enforced and violations come with fines. Granted, we are new transplants here, as our office recently moved from Virginia, where lawlessness pervades and you can do anything you want without consequence. Almost. We are simple, country folk, still getting used to the big city.

However, you’d think that a whole office of college-educated people could figure out what goes in which contaier. They are different colors, different color bags and one container even has the recycle symbol stenciled on it.

Our office administrator put up these signs just today, and included a list of what can go into the recycling bin, and already it has been violated. What do you do at this point? Hire someone to monitor them? Does your office comply with recycling rules? How do you enforce them?

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

6 thoughts on “Recycling woes: People amaze me

  1. At my office, the last reminder about observing the recycling policy came with the sentence, “All [company] employees are expected to comply with [company] policies as part of their job responsibilities.” Subtext: “actually, yes, we CAN take disciplinary action against you for failing to recycle. don’t be the jerk who gets us fined during a recession.”

  2. Our building just moved to a “trash stream” system where we throw everything short of a buffet of food into one bin and some magical recycling fairies sort out the good from the bad at some point later. It works well because, well, it’s dead simple.

  3. yeah, it’s not that they can’t figure it out. they just can’t be bothered- that’s how lazy some people are. and there’s no way to enforce it.

  4. My office is pretty good about recycling – we have trash, aluminum recycling, plastic recycling, paper recycling, and somehow most things manage to make it into the correct bin.

    A funny tidbit about recycling.. Well, not funny, sort of depressing, but still… My parents moved out to Missouri from about an hour north of Philadelphia. Living in Allentown, we’d put out our plastics, aluminum, etc. in a recycling bin with the trash every week, and never really thought anything of it. When they moved to Missouri, the people living out there didn’t even realize that residential areas COULD recycle! Everyone just threw everything in with the trash! Being an east coaster, my mom felt extremely guilty about throwing out plastic and aluminum, so she got the ball rolling and hired a recycling company for their street. My parents and their neighbor share a recycling bin and my mom will put it out for them every week, because apparently their neighbors don’t quite grasp the concept yet. Seriously, how in this day and age, can people not understand recycling?!