Author Topic: Condo morons don't know how to recycle  (Read 1907 times)

meghan88

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Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« on: June 09, 2019, 03:09:19 PM »
We live in a low-rise condo with about 60 units, including a dentist's office on the main floor.

The building has an automatic sorter for the upper floors (2-6).  Just press a button to activate the sorter between "garbage" and "recycling".  The three businesses on the main floor take their trash directly to the trash room, which contains the big bins.

I consistently find dental office trash (face masks, tissues, gloves etc.) in the recycling bin, as well as other garbage that doesn't belong in recycling (clothing, soiled tissues, q-tips, food waste, etc. etc.).

It fills me with despair.  I re-sort it when I spot it and as I'm able.

I went into the dentist's office once to mention that I was seeing their trash in recycling and they claimed that they knew there were separate bins, and were doing things properly.  I said they were not.  They said they'd look into it.  They didn't.

They are no worse than many of the other idiot tenants on the upper floors who don't seem capable of pushing a button.

Ideas?  If I'm to post additional signage to what already exists, do you have ideas for wording to make it impactful?

Kris

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2019, 03:45:29 PM »
This kind of stuff makes me crazy, too (and we have a similar problem in our condo of people who just toss trash into the recycling or recycling into the trash).

As much as I hate to say this, though, recycling these days is kind of a lie to make people feel better. Most of it doesn't get recycled anyway. Especially plastic. Especially since now China isn't taking our recycling anymore.

So, unfortunately, I'm not sure how much it even matters. Ugh. I hate saying that. But though I think recycling is kind of a "you might as well" proposition right now, and maybe not even that much more, I also think it's probably true that we should redirect our anger and energy into changing laws, practices, etc. so that there is less material and packaging to recycle or throw away in the first place.

remizidae

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2019, 03:51:26 PM »
The rules about what is recyclable and what is not are really, really complex. You can be quite well-intentioned and intelligent and still not know, say, whether a tissue is recyclable or how to tell one type of plastic from another. So, if you really care, you could post a lengthy sign about what is recyclable and what's not (knowing that some people will still make mistakes or not read it, since we all have finite time and mental energy).

I think you're being overly harsh to call them morons. Also--don't waste your energy re-sorting other people's trash. It has very little impact and suggests you are being unhealthily obsessive. Reminds me of this: https://www.askamanager.org/2019/06/im-in-trouble-for-re-sorting-a-coworkers-trash-and-im-enraged.html.

Car Jack

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2019, 11:47:38 AM »
Knowing what "people" do....my first thought was that someone needed one of those trash bins and dumped one out randomly into a recycling bin then took the trash bin off to wherever they take it.  So it's quite likely that the dentist office is doing everything correctly but that someone else is messing it all up.

This China thing does really throw a wrench in things as well.  You can assume now that most plastic sent to China will simply be dumped into the ocean on the way there.

meghan88

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2019, 12:28:55 PM »
Thanks for the input - yes, agree that I am unhealthily obsessive about it.  It seems like such a small thing though.  We are a very low-waste household (one small grocery-sized bag every eight weeks or so); we freeze compostable waste and I bike a brown paper bag of it into work every week; we buy in bulk and use our own containers, etc. etc.

But ... the junk I find in the trash and recycling ... sigh. I should just avoid looking.

Re. the dentist, they are definitely at fault because they bag their own items and I was in the room when one of them came in to dump the bags into the recycling bin.  One bag contained shredded paper - yay, fine - and the other two bags were medical waste:  masks, latex gloves, bloody cotton and tissues, single use plastic cups, all mixed together.  I only realized what was in them after she left the room.

We're DINKs with no kids and we'll be either donating our remains to science or getting planted in biodegradable eco-burial pods in about 25 years, so I ask myself why we should we care so much.

The thing is, most people are aware that we are ruining the planet, but few people take personal responsibility for their crap.  They expect the GOVERNMENT to fix things, but then those same people turn around and complain about too many regulations, and they complain about extra taxes.

honeybbq

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2019, 01:17:03 PM »
Take pictures of it and show them the evidence.

NinjaSalad

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2019, 02:04:26 PM »
If they are putting medical waste into a recycling container, I would report them to whoever is picking up the recycling.

Not sure exactly what the regulations are in your area, but I would think that this type of waste should be disposed of in a different manner than recycling since it is a biohazard. Not to mention the fact that there is a huge potential for exposure if this is in a container that can be accessed by the general public.

When I worked for my local government's Environmental Mgmt department we got those types of calls all the time. I would visit the person/business and explain that improper disposal of medical waste is illegal and subject to fines. This was usually enough to get them to change their ways.

SunnyDays

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2019, 02:22:53 PM »
Thanks for the input - yes, agree that I am unhealthily obsessive about it.  It seems like such a small thing though.  We are a very low-waste household (one small grocery-sized bag every eight weeks or so); we freeze compostable waste and I bike a brown paper bag of it into work every week; we buy in bulk and use our own containers, etc. etc.

You are my kind of people!  I'm also obsessive to the point where I open up my roomie's trash bag after it's gone into the outdoor bin because it's usually half full of recyclables.  I've given up telling her, because it's obviously just too much effort for her, so I do it myself.  It likely makes little difference in the grand scheme of things, but I feel better doing it.  (I freeze compostables too and then take it to the dump for composting when I have enough other yard waste to make the trip worthwhile.)  But really, MOST people really don't care at all.  I despair for the planet.

meghan88

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2019, 04:50:59 PM »
Thanks for the input - yes, agree that I am unhealthily obsessive about it.  It seems like such a small thing though.  We are a very low-waste household (one small grocery-sized bag every eight weeks or so); we freeze compostable waste and I bike a brown paper bag of it into work every week; we buy in bulk and use our own containers, etc. etc.

You are my kind of people!  I'm also obsessive to the point where I open up my roomie's trash bag after it's gone into the outdoor bin because it's usually half full of recyclables.  I've given up telling her, because it's obviously just too much effort for her, so I do it myself.  It likely makes little difference in the grand scheme of things, but I feel better doing it.  (I freeze compostables too and then take it to the dump for composting when I have enough other yard waste to make the trip worthwhile.)  But really, MOST people really don't care at all.  I despair for the planet.

:-) nice to know I'm not the only garbage-obsessed person out there.

I think that the most popular rationale for not bothering (aside from sheer laziness and ignorance) is that it "likely makes little difference in the grand scheme of things" ... but imagine if everyone did their part to reduce, reuse, recycle, how much better things would be, and how much less we'd all be paying in municipal taxes?  Not to mention avoiding major diplomatic incidents such as the recent spat between Canada and the Philippines over tons and tons of adult diapers and other waste that were shipped overseas and passed off as "recyclables".  How sad.

fattest_foot

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 11:17:58 AM »
If they are putting medical waste into a recycling container, I would report them to whoever is picking up the recycling.

Not sure exactly what the regulations are in your area, but I would think that this type of waste should be disposed of in a different manner than recycling since it is a biohazard. Not to mention the fact that there is a huge potential for exposure if this is in a container that can be accessed by the general public.

When I worked for my local government's Environmental Mgmt department we got those types of calls all the time. I would visit the person/business and explain that improper disposal of medical waste is illegal and subject to fines. This was usually enough to get them to change their ways.

The medical waste is a bit concerning. If that's actually the case, it shouldn't be thrown out in either of the bins. It really needs to be disposed of seperately from what it sounds like the other building occupants are utilizing.

katscratch

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Re: Condo morons don't know how to recycle
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2019, 01:56:14 PM »
Another "Whoa Nelly" for biohazard waste being put in garbage/recycling. That's absolutely not allowed here.

In general, looking at waste streams: systems that rely on people self-sorting their waste are already going to have a failure point, because not everyone is motivated to sort. Add that a lot of people don't know what is recyclable and there's another barrier to sorting.

I noticed the last time I was at Target they've made it a lot easier to sort waste: the bins are labeled with the type of recyclable allowed in each bin, then food/compostables, then the last one marked "Landfill". Brilliant.

In your building, it's worse for people to put trash in the recycling than the other way around. You could try making a sign with the common items that CAN be recycled. And maybe another sign that says "and not your gross biohazard human body waste, looking at you, dental office" ;)

I personally think the waste end is not an easy fix and the purchasing side is where change really needs to happen.