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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 was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

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