De­pot-sito — Just wanted to scream ‘Hurry, finito!’

Cape Breton Post - - Editorial - Steve Bartlett The Deep End

Colum­nist’s note: Please don’t read this while eat­ing ... Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Re­cy­cling bev­er­age con­tain­ers — yo­gurt drinks, tomato juice, beer cans, etc. — might work dif­fer­ently where you live, but I can re­turn them and get five or 10 cents apiece.

Peo­ple here won’t get rich, but they can gen­er­ate coffee money. (I drink it black if you want to buy me one.)

Any­way, the folks who work at the re­cy­cling de­pot near my house im­press me so much that I’ve re­sisted op­por­tu­ni­ties to put th­ese con­tain­ers on the curb or to drop them off and have an ac­count deb­ited.

No thanks, evolv­ing mod­ern con­ve­niences, I se­ri­ously en­joy watch­ing th­ese peo­ple in ac­tion.

Their abil­ity to count hun­dreds of varied bev­er­age con­tain­ers at a time blows me away.

And how they tune out the con­stant clang­ing of bot­tles and tin is also quite im­pres­sive. I’d be a jumpy wreck, per­haps be­cause of the coffee.

But I’m not sure this ad­mi­ra­tion is mu­tual.

No one has said anything, and maybe I’m be­ing a lit­tle para­noid, but I think they dread see­ing me come through the door.

No, it’s not be­cause I’m a jour­nal­ist.

It’s due to an in­ci­dent that hap­pened ear­lier this year.

It started as just a reg­u­lar stop at the de­pot — wait­ing in line, pil­ing bags on the count­ing ta­ble and let­ting them work their magic.

That un­com­pli­cated sys­tem was go­ing pretty smoothly un­til one of the staff ap­proached me and asked, “Do you smell that?” “No,” I replied with con­cern. It seems she smelled a rat. An­other staff mem­ber came over and quickly con­firmed that some­thing was in­deed off.

I still couldn’t smell a thing. Any­way, the two staffers were re­luc­tant to con­tinue count­ing my bot­tles and cans.

The rules dic­tate that con­tain­ers be clean — which likely means no dead ro­dents — so they had ev­ery right to refuse my refuse.

I stood there, won­der­ing what to do and pre­tend­ing not to be em­bar­rassed (I was wilt­ing on the in­side).

Re­bag­ging my re­cy­cling and tak­ing it home to clean it seemed like a re­ally, re­ally gross thing to do.

But it was my mess to clean up. Af­ter a short, awk­ward si­lence, an older gent who works there raised his hand and said he’d sort it.

I was grate­ful.

And, sure enough, his col­leagues were right. There was a dead ro­dent in the bag.

I couldn’t get out of the de­pot fast enough.

How the pest got there be­came the next fo­cus.

But that was ac­tu­ally pretty easy to fig­ure out.

Our house is next to a field so there’s lots of wildlife — in­clud­ing the neigh­bour­hood kids — around.

We had a left a bag full of bev­er­age con­tain­ers by the door be­fore putting it in our shed.

There are no foren­sics to prove this — no CSI: Steve’s — but it’s plau­si­ble the ro­dent crawled in the bag and got trapped.

We’re try­ing our best to avoid a re­peat by en­sur­ing all blue bags go di­rectly in the shed.

Yup, be­cause of what hap­pened at the de­pot, when it comes to re­cy­cling, we re­ally give a rat’s ass.

Steve Bartlett is an edi­tor with SaltWire Net­work. He dives into the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and garbage day. Reach him via email at steve.bartlett@thetele­gram.com.

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