Kids can help on re­cy­cling

Los Angeles Times - - COMICS - Send ques­tions to Amy Dick­in­son by email to ask amy@ amy­dick­in­son. com.

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been mar­ried for eight years.

We’ve al­ways shared house­hold chores, which has worked well.

She re­cently put her ca­reer on hold to focus on our two small chil­dren, and she is an amaz­ing mother.

My only com­plaint is her ap­a­thy to­ward re­cy­cling. I’m con­stantly pick­ing re­cy­clables out of the trash and trash out of the re­cy­cling bin. Re­cy­clables that do make it into the cor­rect bin are of­ten con­tam­i­nated with food waste, which, I’ve read, gum up sort­ing and pro­cess­ing ma­chines.

I’ve gen­tly re­minded her of the proper way to han­dle re­cy­clables, but I am usu­ally met with a “what­ever” at­ti­tude or dis­mis­sive com­ment about “wash­ing garbage.”

I qui­etly pick through the re­spec­tive bins and put things in the right spot, but I feel like that’s en­cour­ag­ing her to con­tinue not to care.

I re­al­ize in the grand scheme of things this is a pretty mi­nor in­frac­tion and part of the is­sue is my metic­u­lous­ness, but I’m won­der­ing if you have any sug­ges­tions on how to per­suade her to care more about proper re­cy­cling eti­quette? Wearied Waste


Dear Wearied: My so­lu­tion is to sug­gest you sim­ply re­al­ize that your wife is a non­starter in this re­gard, and to stop cam­paign­ing and cor­rect­ing her. I am ap­point you Re­cy­cle Czar of your house­hold ( your scepter is in the mail). You will take on this job with en­thu­si­asm and with­out com­plaint. Fur­ther­more, I’m ap­point­ing your chil­dren as your of­fi­cial as­sis­tants.

Even young chil­dren can en­joy the job of safely sort­ing ( clean) plas­tics. You should de­lin­eate a color- coded bin for the re­cy­clables, teach your kids the ba­sics, ex­plain to them why you are do­ing this, place the clean plas­tics and pa­per goods on the f loor, and ask them to put these things into the ap­pro­pri­ate bin They can help you take the bin to the curb and watch the truck take away the dis­carded items.

If you do this, quite soon your chil­dren will start to po­lice your wife, re­mind­ing her which bin to use. This might in­spire her to get on board.

Dear Amy: Thank you for your wise re­sponse to “Frus­trated in the Kitchen,” who was up­set that her two step­sons ( both ad­dicts) were of­ten ex­tremely late for her spe­cial home- cooked meals.

As a mother who lost a son to ad­dic­tion, I can tell you that I never stop wish­ing there was one more birth­day or hol­i­day meal with my son.

Es­tab­lish­ing a “home” for those bat­tling ad­dic­tion is the kind­est act a par­ent can do. They can be late or un­re­li­able; maybe they won’t stay long. But com­ing home for hol­i­day meals can be a great bless­ing for trou­bled souls.

A fam­ily group like AA or NA could be of great help.

At the end of a meet­ing, they al­ways say, “Keep com­ing back.” And that’s what par­ents should al­ways say to their chil­dren.

Sim­pler food could be or­dered to save work and still feel like home- cooked meals. The im­por­tant part is open­ing up your home and mak­ing the fam­ily feel wel­come.

They can work out the kitchen prob­lems. Time with fam­ily is so much more im­por­tant.

A Griev­ing Mother

Dear Griev­ing: Thank you so much for your thought­ful and lov­ing re­sponse to a heart­break­ing prob­lem.

The wis­dom of “Keep com­ing back” works in so many con­texts, and I thank you for shar­ing it.

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