Depot-sito — Just wanted to scream ‘Hurry, finito!’
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 email@example.com.