ADVERTISEMENT

Waste Management and Allied Waste Services

Richard Sennott, Star Tribune

Lileks: A guide to your new recycling bin

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS
  • Star Tribune
  • May 25, 2013 - 5:07 PM

The new recycling bin arrived.

I’m not saying it’s large, but apparently the assumptions of what I’m going to recycle now includes “grown humans.”

The old bin was a small thing with a flimsy lid, long since broken and lost, and its capacity was pathetic. It held three newspapers — two, if Chris Christie was mentioned in any story — a 12-pack of aluminum cans, if crushed down to the size of dice, one wine bottle (you did scrape off the foil label? tsk-tsk) and a plastic bladder of milk. Whenever I see someone with the old bins, I know they’ve thrown away everything else, and the little bin is set out like an offering to an angry god.

No more! Chuck it all in the bin! No more sorting, bagging, rearranging: chuck it in the bin! It’s like a regular garbage can, but virtuous. Compare it to the old garbage bin — weary, scuffed, skunky, a gloomy vet that no doubt looks at the newcomer with immense resentment. He gets all the special garbage. He gets the catalogs for swimsuits and fruit. I get bags of dog-offal and busted light bulbs.

There is a downside to the new bin: My long struggle to get family members to crush soda cans is now completely undermined. Guys like to crush cans. A quick twist, a little compression — that can’s flat. Good muscle-building exercise. People look at my biceps, say “man, you been working out?” “No, just drinking a lot of soda.”

Of course this means that people will put things in the recycling bin they shouldn’t. So keep this in mind:

• Fluorescent light bulbs: These must be dropped off somewhere else because they contain deadly, federally mandated mercury. But of course you do that already instead of chucking them in the garbage, right? Never mind.

• Lawn scraps go into paper bags, so they can be taken to a facility, combined with glue and turned into “post-consumer sod.”

• Organic matter goes into the compost bin. We don’t have a citywide compost program yet, but one is scheduled to be rolled out in 2021.

So if you could just hold on to your banana peels and coffee grinds until then, that’d be great.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

© 2014 Star Tribune