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Depression in the form of polystyrene …

By sheer coincidence this morning, the driver of a Charlotte recycling truck and I met up with each other as I lugged the last of two recycling bins to the end of my short driveway.

On top of one of the bins were the sorry remnants of some car bumper. Beyond the shattered plastic were two pieces of slate gray polystyrene that somehow were fitted into the bumper as a noise dampener or some type of filler.

The gray polystyrene dislodged in a fender bender can't be recycled. I don't quite get it, but at least the resolution ha been made to continue to keep it out of my local eco-system.

The gray polystyrene dislodged in a fender bender can’t be recycled. I don’t quite get it, but at least the resolution ha been made to continue to keep it out of my local eco-system.

As I turned tail to leave, the guy who schleps the bins to the truck said “Sir, we don’t recycle styrofoam.” He pulled out the two 2′ long strips and handed them to me as he nodded toward the trash bin that had been parked on the driveway a few moments earlier. Dutifully, I deposited the offending shards in what would become the last resting place for the vile product before each chunk would end up in the landfill. The polystyrene would be slow to decompose – if it ever truly decomposes at all. Talk about a downer. I’d carried those bastards for the better part of two miles and now that lightweight labor would go for naught.

I found this unsurprising yet somehow wholly depressing. I’ve taken great pains to target polystyrene on my daily jaunts and then to learn the cold, hard facts hit me quite hard.

Yet poly will remain high on the must-retrieve list. It’s ugly, can break into a zillion tiny pieces and get washed into McMullen Creek and thus, potentially, toward the sea. No sooner had he mentioned the we don’t recycle styrofoam words than I resolved to, at the least, continue to remove this as contaminant, eyesore and potential danger to the eco-system, recyclability or not.

Sure, the guy was simply delivering bad news and since he was just the messenger I couldn’t sling arrows his way. Hopefully, and sooner than later, Charlotte will come to its recycling senses to make sure this scourge stays in the recycle bin and not the trash.

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; the first on 17 years of writing weekly letters to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility ( I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen these single pagers as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world and so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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