Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Returnables and Recyclables......the dirty little secret

7:38 am - Tuesday - July 31st - Southwest Harbor, ME - 67º F, 88% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the south by southeast.......sunny with a forecast high of 77º F for this fine day.

We continue to see the daily humidity levels decrease and are really enjoying having all our windows open again.  Time goes by quickly and suddenly one day I realize we have not had to use any of our electric heaters in quite some time.  We have reached that time during the summer when, barring high humidity levels, our windows are open all the time, jackets are not being worn unless it rains, and shorts are always the order of the day.  My work jeans are now being stored under the bed, all my gloves are back in their cubbyhole, and I haven't worn my SDC logo jacket in over a week.  We are looking at two weeks of temps continuing to be in the 70's.....that will probably continue for another month and then we will begin to see the temps begin to dip back into the 60's once again, and then back into the 50's as we hit October.

Our Monday was a typical Monday.....only 16 departures, but we had to retrieve 44 bundles of wood to replenish our woodbox......the most so far this summer!  Tony and I helped Alex clean a few sites, but we quickly ran out of them as people, as they were on Sunday, were slow to pack up and leave.  You would think they want to milk every single second out of their vacation.....hmmmm?

We left Alex and turned to processing "returnables" and "recyclables"....what is the difference you might wonder?  In Maine, as in many states, when you buy bottled water, soda, or beer you pay a deposit on each bottle/can.  In Maine it is 5 cents per bottle/can.  Most people don't save all their returnable bottles and cans and then return them to reclaim their deposit.  For those who don't we provide several "returnables" locations throughout the campground.....4 to be exact.  We collect these "returnables" in bulk and at some point in the near future we will load them in a large trailer, then deliver them to the local redemption center and collect the 5 cents per bottle/can.  On the other hand many things are "recyclable" (certain plastics, glass, cardboard, aluminum, etc.), but not "returnable" so we provide one main station near our office for those items.  

There are two problems with "recyclables" (emphasis on the quotation marks).......the majority of people have no idea what is and what is not "recyclable", and often what we find in this bin in about 70% trash.  We don't have the time to sort through each 70 gallon bag to separate one from the other, so it becomes 'trash' 98% of the time.  The dirty little secret about "recycling" is there really is NO recycling market for most glass and plastic.  Canada buys a lot of cardboard from the U.S., but when it comes to glass and plastic very little, and I mean a shockingly small percentage, of glass and plastic is actually "recycled" in this country.  I think we have become accustomed to seeing the recycling bins everywhere, and it makes us feel good to put our plastic water bottle, or aluminum can in one thinking we are doing something positive for our environment......in actuality "recycling" is probably causing more harm than good in this country.  

And then you have the "returnables"......we collect them and then get money back for having done that, but all of those bottles and cans still end up going into a landfill somewhere, or chopped up and dumped in the ocean......I am not exaggerating.

Once we had processed the "returnables" and "recyclables" we turned to the daily trash collection and then transport to the local transfer station.  We deliver our load of effluent and are on our way back to SDC by 10:45 am......time for lunch!  

I enjoy how each work day is neatly compartmentalized......if you are on pool duty you clean the pool from 7-8 am.  We take a coffee break after that.....I mostly come in at 8 am.....just in time for coffee.  Then we clean sites for a while transitioning to effluent collection around 9:45 am, which takes about an hour....sometimes more.  Then we take lunch for an hour.  We clean restrooms from 12 pm to 2 pm, and then for most employees it is only one hour until quitting time.  We'll spend that hour picking up random trash here and there, picking up and returning all the 'toys' to the toy box in the playground.  It makes the time go by much more quickly.  Then at 3 pm I am on my own for my final two hours to wash and detail our golf carts, wash the company truck, or trim grass and weeds to my heart's content.  Before I know it 4:30 has arrived and it is time to put everything away for another day.....I hang my golf cart key in the appropriate place in the 'garage' and head down to the office to chat with TLE for a few minutes before I put an exclamation point on the day with another time stamp on my time card.

TLE had prepared anchovy pizza for my dining pleasure both at lunch and for dinner (she works 2 pm to 10 pm on Mondays) so I got out the cold pizza and an even colder Allagash  Belgium White Ale to chase it......Allagash Brewing is out of Portland, ME.....this is probably the finest Belgium White Ale I have ever had....I wish I could get this beer on the west coast!

TLE was home by 10:15 pm and we proceeded to watch another couple of episodes of 'Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee' before heading off to slumberland......life is good!

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