Pizza Puzzle: Landfill or Recycle?

I was walking to my class at a certain community college the other morning at 6:45 a.m.  I mention this not to try to shamelessly wheedle sympathy out of you for my early rising, but to point out that the display in the first photo must have taken place in the oh-dark-hundred hours.

Yes, there is a third of a pizza resting blissfully on the ledge of one of the trash receptacles. Since I had 23 rhetoric-hungry students waiting for me I didn’t take the pic right then but did remember to look for it an hour later and, sure enough, it hadn’t moved.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to the original owner, I figured they* simply couldn’t decide whether a used pizza is considered “landfill” or “recyclable” and so they left it for some other food savant to decide.

Two hours later I was returning from nourishing a different group of MLA Style-starved scholars and could hardly believe what had happened:

Uh huh…the pizza slice had moved itself over to the Recycle side, as though to taunt the by-now-hundreds of shredded-jean passers-by to make a final decision.

Honest…I hadn’t touched it. And though all I had to eat by 11 a.m. was a banana and several cups of coffee, I was still not tempted to scarf it down.

By 1 p.m. the slice had inched a bit closer to the slot. Here’s a close up, just to get your mouth juices flowing.

So whattya say? Which slot does a used pizza go in? My students voted for “landfill” since it’s not technically something you can recycle. And really…who just leaves a pizza and paper plate on the side of a trash receptacle, as though to say, “Hey, I’ll be right back for this, but feel free to nosh on it if you get there first.”

Just as important: Why does “Landfill” get a square opening but “Recycle” gets a keyhole slot?


* yes…we’re now allowed to say “they” instead of the annoying and space-consuming “he or she” or other klugey abominations such as “he/she,” “s/he” that have been proposed, including the “whiplash grammar” solution of alternating “he” and “she.”
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3 comments on “Pizza Puzzle: Landfill or Recycle?

  1. charleycrews says:

    I’m voting recycle ~ did enough cold pizza in college to think otherwise. Besides, is pizza even biodegradable?

  2. That slice of pizza had a mind of its own (as well it should have).

  3. Susan Vogt says:

    Since recycling is one of my specialties, here’s what I think:
    1. Pizza is not recyclable nor compostable. Eat it, or it goes in the landfill. Of course it eventually goes into the toilet which then goes to your town’s sewage system.
    2. Paper plates (if unused, clean, and not coated with wax or plastic) can usually be recycled, BUT very few plates meet this criteria or why would it be thrown away.
    Usually it is best not to recycle pizza boxes since they are seldom clean and without grease, but technically they are recyclable if clean.
    3. Best solution: Eat the pizza. Use a reusable plate and then reuse it. Pre-cycle.
    4. Keyhole vs. big square: Since most municipal recyclable materials: are paper, cans, and bottles, the smaller slot discourages people from putting objects which would contaminate the recyclables into the bin. The Landfill container takes everything else.
    5. A helpful website about what is NOT recyclable or compostable is: https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/recycling/stories/30-things-you-should-never-compost-or-recycle
    6. Re-Labeling “Trash” to “Landfill. I’ve started to notice this relabeling trend and I think it is good since more people are becoming sensitive to polluting the earth and the Landfill is where unrecyclable trash will really go, Many people will be slower to indiscriminately put stuff in a Landfill box. The only problem with this is just tossing stuff on the ground thus making you a litterbug.

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