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My job as a recycling worker, Part 2

Sorry it took a little longer than expected to post Part II, but here it is.

Having to interact with workers at all types of business has shown me that you never know who will be a good customer and who won’t be. People who you expect to not care about recycling can sometimes surprise you.

At one stop a co-worker and I use to pickup bags of bottles and cans at a loading dock in a building in the Financial District. Like many of these buildings we weren’t allowed to use the main entrance (I’ll go on more about that in a the next couple of paragraphs). The guy who brought the bags down, usually two or three very full bags would always be wearing a suite and tie. He was a great contact and made the recycling program work. If I was to see him walking down the street I would never have guessed he would care enough about a recycling program to put forth that much effort.

Not all customers are super positive about their recycling program. We have to deal with mixed feelings from customers and others about recycling. There are many customers who do not care. They can’t be bothered with anything to do with the recycling at their work. We many times have gotten the “Is it worth it?” question. I won’t go into weather or not recycling is worth it, that’s a topic for another blog entry. We also get responses such as “why bother?” and “who cares?” Many times we will have employees at stops we go to who have these feelings. We give them reasons why we bother to collect recycling in hopes of maybe they will care enough to participate in their office’s recycling program.

We are usually forced to use the service entrance or loading dock when going into a building. Most of the time it is much easier than having to go through the main entrance and lobby of the building.

At one building I was waiting in the lobby with one of our large carts for the customer to bring down the cart to swap it out. The security person made me leave the lobby and wait in the “service/trash” area. As she was forcing me out the side doors I could see the customer coming off the elevator with the cart. I tried pointing out to her that the customer was right there. She wasn’t having any. Immediately after I passed through a set of doors into the service area the customer followed. The customer then had to push the cart back through the same doors again.

There was no reason for making the customer and I have to push the carts through the doors twice as many times as needed. The security guard simply didn’t want me in her lobby. This wasn’t a fancy hotel or anything special, just an average building in Boston.

I’m reminded of an old Boston band “The Stray Bullets”. They had a song called Eyesore. The song tells about how a contractor cannot use the front entrance of the building, but instead has to go out the back “like the rest of the trash.” Many times I have felt this same feeling.

At another building my coworker had to run up to a customers office to talk to someone. She wasn’t bringing any equipment up with her, just herself. The Security guy wanted her use the freight elevator. She refused because she was freightless, so there was no reason why she couldn’t use the regular people elevator. After a brief and pointless conversation the security guy allowed her to use the regular people elevator

In these last few years I’ve gotten to meet a variety of people and go into numerous different types of buildings and businesses. For the most part it’s been a pretty good experience. For the most part the positive interactions have out weighed the negative ones.

People can surprise you. My perception about who cares about recycling and who’s a good recycled has changed since I’ve been at this job.

This job has also changed my outlook a little on how people in this grand storied city of Boston act towards each other. Since this is an environmental blog I’ll stop here with my social outlook. So I guess the main thing to take away from this overly long blog is that all different types of people can give a sh*t about recycling.