ANYway, this past Sunday, in an attempt to clear away the water bottle graveyard that had been accumulating in my room/Loretta, I headed to the recycling center in the parking lot of Vons on the corner of Santa Monica and Barrington in West LA. Now, here's another point of contention with the state of recycling in Los Angeles: this particular station will ONLY take beverage containers. However, they are also kind enough to give you the equivalent of cold hard cash for your troubles. I think the last time I dropped off my recycling, I made a cool $3.75 or thereabouts. Apparently plastic is not as valuable a commodity as aluminum.
So, its Sunday, its 2:45, and I have just finished separating my recyclables. There is a healthy line of people, and I patiently get in the back of the line, to witness:
the man who is taking the recyclables is BERATING a woman who is trying to turn in her plastic gallon-juice bottles.
Crazy-Recycling-Overseer: LADY! YOU CAN'T TURN THAT IN HERE!
Woman-Trying-To-Recycle: what? why not? it's recyclable.
CRO: YOU CAN'T RECYCLE IT HERE! YOU CAN THROW IT AWAY OVER THERE!
WTTR: i don't want to throw it away; it's recyclable!
CRO: LADY! YOU-ARE-NOT-LISTENING TO ME! YOU CAN'T RECYCLE THIS HERE!
WTTR: but... you used to take them!
CRO: WELL, WE DON'T TAKE THEM NO MORE!
So I am standing awkwardly with my bags of bottles, when Crazy Recycling Overseer turns his attention to me:
CRO: WHAT are you DOING??
me: (thinking... uhm... is this a trick question? rhetorical?)
CRO: WE ARE CLOSED! THESE PEOPLE WERE ALREADY IN LINE, WE ARE NOT RECYCLING NO MORE TODAY!
me: (pointing to car where I had been separating my plastics for the last 20 minutes) but I've been here!
CRO: WHAT DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? we are CLOSED! YOU CAN'T LEAVE THAT HERE TODAY!
In the meantime, the woman holding her juice containers, to her credit, had apparently come up with some new angle to her argument, bc as I stormed off from the recycling center, she and the crazy recycling man quickly got back into their spirited debate.
Now, I have no idea where they hired this man, or why he hates people, or what they pay him. Maybe he has to deal with a crappy boss, maybe he is on parole, I have no idea. But I do know, that the following factors are not encouraging people to recycle:
- non-pick-up with regular trash
- inconvenient acceptance policy - beverage containers only, and seemingly arbitrary denial of specific juice containers...
- crappy hours (as I mentioned, this was around 2:45 on Sunday)
- crazy person yelling at you
So, despite the joy I find in arguing with the crazies, I am not looking forward to returning to the fun-time all-smiles recycling center. However, I do eventually have to turn in my recycling before it takes over my entire car... my coworker informs me that he goes to a lovely place in Burbank, where they accept all of his recyclables, but by the time I've driven over the hill, isn't the gas I've burned counter-productive to the goal?In relating the story to Eric Luther Ling, we both lamented the lack of photo documentation regarding the event. He was kind enough to supply us with this artist's rendering:
Yeah. It went down something like that.