Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Signs and Wonders

A long time ago, in a marriage far away, I had a husband who pinched his pennies until they bled copper. If the last person in the room didn't turn off all lights upon leaving (even for a few minutes …), he was incensed. The offender would be chided and reminded.

The basement in this home was the place that caused him the greatest annoyance. After his son left the basement lights on one too may times, Husband took a pen and a piece of paper and wrote a note that said, "Turn Off the Lights." He then taped the note above the wall switch, in hopes it would cause everyone leaving the basement to turn off the lights.

I tried to explain to him that if any of us had looked at the light switch, we would have remembered to turn off the lights. He didn't get it. He was certain his sign would solve the problem. (It didn't.)
Flash forward twenty years.

The Jazzman and I try to be eco-friendly. Mahoning County Green Team, however, doesn't make eco-friendliness easy. I navigate to their website frequently to see what numbers are being accepted this month. You know those little triangles on the bottom of disposable containers? I'm driven by those.

I took a trunkload of packing materials to the recycling station the other day. Included in that trunkload were bits and chunks of white styrofoam that had been used to protect our new TV from bumping and jostling. Of all the recycling containers at the station, none of them were labeled "Styrofoam." I pulled my iPhone out of the car and opened the Green Team website. No Styrofoam. Absolutely no styrofoam. When I got home the styrofoam went back into the garage until we could figure out what to do with it.

The other day when we ate out, I brought home half of my dinner to be the next day's lunch. The restaurant gave me a black container with a triangle/6 on the bottom. After emptying it, I washed it out and—noting that Mahoning County Green Team now accepts recycling numbers 1-7—tossed it into our kitchen recycling bin.

The next morning I came down after the Jazzman left for work and noticed a sign on the wall.

"No Styrofoam" and an arrow down to the recycling bin.

Twenty years and three marriages/significant relationships later, again with the signs!

When he came home that day, I said, "But it has a '6'." He countered "But it's styrofoam." Bets were placed, and we waited for the end of the holiday weekend so I could call the Green Team office and settle the argument once and for all.

Alas, I lost! The Green Team lady said if the container is soft styrofoam rather than rigid plastic, the '6' on the bottom couldn't save it. It was the cursed styrofoam and could not be recycled.

Good thing I didn't make a very large wager, huh?