Living

A lunchtime adventure with a garbage can

On a recent lunch break, I was happily going about my business of making the usual peanut butter sandwich in the lunch room.

I washed my hands and apple and went to toss the paper towel* in the trash, when I saw it. A pop can in the garbage.

Immediately a debate ensued in my head.

It’s already in the garbage. I don’t want to get my hands dirty.

Seriously, Ingrid? You’re going to let a few germs get in the way of your mission to teach Heraldites how to recycle? Lame.

The latter voice won out. I reached my hand into the coffee grounds, picked out the Coke can and deposited it in the recycling bin, where it belongs.

I’m not sure if anyone saw me do this, but I can only imagine thoughts of “What’s that crazy person doing in the garbage can?”

And really, it was just one can, right?

But recycling that one can, by some estimates, saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.

And after sharing this story with a few colleagues, I learned I’m not the only one reaching my hand in the garbage can to save a can from a not-so-efficient fate.

*You may be thinking to yourself that paper towels are a bit of a waste, and shouldn’t I be using a more sustainable option? Indeed, I’m in the process of breaking my paper towel habit and using a cloth one for drying clean hands. And apples.

-- Ingrid Stegemoeller is a business reporter for the Herald and appreciates the economic and environmental efficiency of living green.


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