The wonder of the modern world is that all of your worst, smelliest waste -- from moldy old Chinese food to actual turds -- just neatly disappears from your life the moment you discard it. And with recycling, well that's even more magical. Much like a phoenix, your trash is reborn ... except, rather than a badass fire bird, what magically flies back to you is a new case for your iPhone or, like, napkins or some shit. And you never have to see any of the gross steps in between!
Well, if you're thinking that the actual job of recycling is probably a rich tapestry of horrific nightmares, you're right! We talked to one of the guys who has to manually pick through your leavings, and he says ...
You People Recycle Some Seriously Fucked-Up Stuff
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Over the years, "single-stream recycling" seems to have been translated into "throw everything, ever, into the recycling and let the robots at the plant sort it out." Newsflash: There are no robots at the plant. There are merely people like me, sorting through that shit with our hands. And, luckily for the future of mankind, I am not a metal endoskeleton surrounded by living tissue.
So first of all, for the love of all that is good and holy (also, my work gloves), do not put things that are drenched in your bodily fluids in the recycling bin. Piss-soaked bed liners and used diapers and, holy shit, bloody tampons just end up going to the landfill via a more roundabout route. I suppose I can understand the mindset -- not knowing any better, people assume everything under the Sun can be crapped in, cleansed with fire, and then reused. I hate to say it, but that's just not how it works.
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If you're not willing to wipe it clean and use it again, what makes you think we will?
Also, I live in an area where hunting is big, so I must add this: hunters, don't recycle your deer corpses. But even those aren't as nightmare-inducing as the two dead kittens I saw the other day, or the trash bag my co-worker ripped open to discover a litter of puppies. So before you toss whatever you're holding into the recycling bin, please ask yourself, "Is this going to result in a hefty therapy bill for the next person who has to pick it up?"
Grandma deserves a better fate than becoming a bar of Irish Spring.