Heavy Cardboard


In Bradford, where I live, recycling gets collected every second Thursday; garbage is collected in the weeks that recycling isn't, and the green bin is collected every week.


Three weeks ago, I left a few bundles of heavy cardboard at the end of my driveway for the recycling collectors to take away. The cardboard didn't look like the photo above -- it was much thicker and looked more like thin sheets of particle board than cut-up boxes -- but I had bundled it just like this, and this was the best photo I could find.


The recycling collectors left it at the curb with a sticker that told me this item wasn't eligible for collection.


When I saw that the bundles hadn't been taken, I immediately understood why.


I know that what I had put out at the curb was cardboard because I was the one who bought it several years ago when I needed it, but it was really thick and really did look a lot like wood. And wood isn't accepted as part of our local recycling program.


I wasn't happy that the bundle was left, but I realized it was my fault. I had assumed the collectors would know what I had left out at the curb. And you know that old saying about what happens when you "assume", right?


Two weeks later, those bundles were still at the end of my driveway, awaiting pick-up.


Only this time, I had taken a black sharpie and written the following on the top bundle:


"This is Heavy Cardboard. (Not Waxed) (Not Wood)"


And this time, the bundles were collected.


People won't always know what you know.


Taking the time to help them understand is usually time well-spent.


- dp