We’ve had a little situation with our recycling guys.
When we first moved to this region, we followed the same rules we followed at the old region. You know, put stuff in recycling bins, put bins out to curb on a weekly basis.
We’re environmentally friendly people. We minimize our garbage.
I thought we were doing good for the planet.
Anyway, after a few weeks of this, the recycling guys decide they didn’t want to pick up our recycling bins anymore. Instead, they left us with a note in all caps, that read “SORT IT”
Honestly, I think it was the caps that put me on edge. I felt like they were yelling at me.
My husband and I have a good long rant about sorting the recycling, and how if we’re sorting it, what will they do later? And if it’s all going in the same truck, why are we wasting our time?
After about 5 or 6 days of this, we’ve moved on.
We sort the recycling like we were told to do, and occasionally we struggle deciding which box a plastic piece of cardboard should go in. It’s both plastic and fibre. Sigh.
Our recycling gets picked up again on a weekly basis with no more notes. I feel like we’re back on good terms with the men in the truck.
Enter the coronavirus outbreak, and rules are changed. Now in addition to sorting the recycling, we also have to bag the items. No individual items will be picked up unless it’s not in a bag.
Okay. We understand. We want everyone to be safe. We bag all the items that were previously sorted.
Except now they refuse to pick up our bins again because the bags were grocery store bags, and not clear bags.
We Didn’t Get the Memo
You know, the website didn’t specify this in their memo – that there were bag requirements. My husband had even labelled the bags for the guys, but this wasn’t good enough.
Just. Friggen. Great.
We have four humans at home 24/7 because of the plague known as COVID-19, so imagine the amount of waste accumulated in a week. It’s quadrupled. Our bins are full.
So yes, we’re ranting again. We are frustrated.
I start thinking about all the things we could do.
- We could phone the city.
- We could complain about the rude all-caps notes, and the refusal of pickup.
- We could take our bags of recycling to the city council and leave it on their doorstep.
- We could bag it all in black bags and put it out with next week’s garbage.
We are good people. We are nice people. We want to have respect for others. We want to be environmentally friendly.
None of these options are good for the environment. None of these options show respect to other humans. None of these options make us ‘nice’ people.
We are frustrated, but we are still kind.
I’m not going to phone the office. I want to. I feel like I’m being bullied a bit with their anger-notes and the piles of crap left on my front lawn.
Calling the office is a bit like telling the teacher. When you’re in kindergarten, you are taught to tell the teacher, and the teacher will help. It’s the right thing to do.
As you get older, you’re still instructed to tell the teacher, but the teacher then coaches you how to problem solve.
When you’re even older, you problem solve first, before telling the teacher.
Finally, there’s no teacher and you’re out in the real world with your newly attained problem solving skills.
I really wish I had a teacher right about now, but I’m an adult. And I got this.
There is no point in having a screaming match or a pissing contest with the recycling guys. Maybe they’re having a hard day. Maybe they are scared to be out in the world due to the virus.
I get it.
Gratitude Through Adversity
I am grateful that people pick up the trash/recycling/food waste. This is a luxury.
I am also grateful that with all this extra recycling, my kids have chosen to make new crafts.
The house they built for their stuffed cat named Spots, now has backyard, pool, and fireplace with chimney. They call it Spots Mansion.
I am channeling my frustration into gratitude because I don’t know why the recycling guys hate me. Maybe they don’t. Maybe it’s not personal.
Maybe it is personal. Maybe I’m the only person in the town who doesn’t know fibre from plastic. Maybe these guys are sitting at home, thinking of all the ways they can ruin my week.
It’s not good for my mental health to think about all these maybes. I can’t control any of them.
So, for my sanity, I’ve been practicing the principle I have given my children.
It is nobody’s business what someone else thinks of me. It’s certainly not my business.
Instead of wasting any more energy on what I did wrong and what other people think of me, I’m going to spend my energy focusing on what I’m grateful for, and how I can make someone else’s day better.
I’m going to write a kind note (in lower case letters), bake a banana bread, and leave it in Spot’s Mansion, beside the recycling bins next week.