Sunday, February 25, 2007

Taking out the trash

My landlords are very kind when it comes to garbage disposal. They take my and my roommate's trash and recyclables to the town dump every week, thus sparing us the expense of a registration sticker. Unfortunately, Mr. and Mrs. Landlord are woefully unacquainted with local and state-wide recycling policies -- specifically, that all transfer stations must have receptacles for paper and non-corrugated cardboard. They insist that the local dump does not recycle these materials. Should my roommate and I continue to send our paper waste off with the rest of the trash, or confront our landlords with a copy of the local and state recycling regulations? Or should we just suck it up and get our own dump sticker (we'd still have to explain this choice to the landlords)?

Environmentally Conscious

Dear Conscious,

The thing about laws is that not every business follows them. That’s obvious when I see the health inspection reports for local restaurants and discover they don’t have thermometers for their hot buffet lines. It is entirely possible that the dump doesn’t make that kind of recycling available and no one has called them on it.

But I don’t really think that’s the situation here. It’s a lot more plausible that Mr. and Mrs. Landlord don’t know where these drop-off points are at the dump or that they feel they are being kind enough to take all of your trash and recyclables that they don’t have to keep everything separated. As an environmentalist, you obviously feel differently.

Here are your options as I see them: stop recycling cardboard and paper and try to reuse them in your own home, or confront them with state and local laws at risk of them becoming offended and making you get your own sticker, or get your own sticker and tell them you don’t want to burden them with the task of hauling your trash. Two out of three of these options have the potential for you and your roommate to have to pony up some cash, so think wisely.

Aunt Amy

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