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Da Vinci of the dumpster

OPINION by Harry Porter | September 18, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Every couple of weeks I get the unique experience of taking the items we have accumulated to the recycling center. To be completely honest, we are not the most aggressive when it comes to recycling. We usually only recycle three things: plastic drinking bottles known to recyclers as plastic No. 1; plastic containers known in the business as plastic No. 2; and plastic bags.

Could we do more? Absolutely. However, I think doing any recycling at all is better than doing none. My way of thinking does not protect me from the rabid recyclers who consider it their mission in life to point out each item that could and should be recycled. I work with a woman at The Sentinel-Record who recycles or donates anything and everything she can get her hands on. For the purpose of this column, we will call her Jane.

Nothing is outside of the recycle realm for Jane, be it aluminum foil to zippered sandwich bags. Jane literally recycles everything from A to Z.

From time to time, we do some spring cleaning at the office and before we can put anything into the dumpster Jane approves it. She says yea or nay as to whether it can be recycled, donated or trashed. To her credit, Jane takes it upon herself to take the items we no longer want to the recycling center or donation center.

Personally, I do not have the keen eye that Jane does. I would put way more stuff into the dumpster than the recycling bin. Jane regularly recycle shames me. She points out how we have to preserve our planet for future generations.

I have found that not all recyclers are created equal. For instance, when I drop my items off at the recycling center I notice garbage bags in the recycling bin labeled plastic bottles. I also notice cardboard boxes in the glass recycling.

This seems strange to me. You would think that anyone who cares enough to drive to the recycling center would care enough to put the correct items in the correct bin. These sloppy salvagers actually make the job of recycling that much harder. The bins must be sorted to get the improper items in their proper compartment. It must be tedious and frustrating for the employees of the recycling center.

I think we could label these lazy recyclers as the modern-day da Vinci. Why da Vinci, you may ask. I am sure you are all familiar with the famous painting Mona Lisa. How long do you think it took da Vinci to paint it? Six months, a year, five years? It took da Vinci 15 years to complete the 30-by-21 inch canvas painting. For comparison, it took Michelangelo a mere four years to paint the entire Sistine Chapel, an area equal to 12,000 square feet.

Now, before you think I am being too harsh on the artistic genius, consider what da Vinci himself said. On his deathbed, he admitted to his chronic lethargy when he apologized for leaving so much undone.

Therefore, the next time Jane is berating me for my lack of enthusiasm for recycling I will simply remind her what the great da Vinci said, "Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active."

Print Headline: Da Vinci of the dumpster


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