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August 30, 2018: The Sorting Table

Jill, who is the education coordinator at VCRS (the local recycling center) passed through the sorting area today and stopped to chat for a bit. She remarked that maybe I’d find something funny to write about. I replied that thus far, nothing fun has happened.

It has thus far, been a very serious and in its own way, intense year. First of all, it’s been raining a great deal. Secondly, attendance has been way down. And thirdly, volunteer numbers have been down.

All these factors are things that have been talked about at the sorting table. The sorting table is where the contents of

using a dust pan to clean off the sorting table
Using a dust pan to clean off the sorting table

the plastic bags are sorted. The large plastic bags are dumped on the table and the contents – mainly plastic bottles and aluminum cans, are sorted out by workers. Aluminum cans go into their own garbage cans, as do plastic bottles. The waste (and this includes bottle caps) are scooped up with a dustpan and put in a large garbage can that is emptied into the dumpster destined for the local landfill. The garbage cans containing the bottles and cans are dumped into large sacks that are attached to a frame. The full bags are then pulled off the frames, tied together, and placed in roll-offs. The roll-offs, when full, are taken to VCRS.

That’s the process. The volunteers at the table pretty much sort – I make sure that the sorted cans and bottles go to their rightful places. I also empty the waste water that collects via a drain into a 5 gallon bucket, into a larger barrel.

I scurry around, taking care of these odds and ends. If I am caught up or if the conversation is particularly good, I resume sorting. If the conversation is banal, I go over to the dumpster area and cut up cardboard and put it in the dumpster.

The sorting table really is where it is at in terms of conversations. I do try to get the focus on recycling and sometimes achieve success. Lately, the conversation has centered around the low number of volunteers. This is the job of the volunteer coordinator. The buzz was that she wasn’t doing her job. Today she and her boss mutually agreed that tomorrow will be her last day. It should be that what happens at the sorting table should remain at the sorting table, but I suspect that the word, like the wind, is going to travel far.

I let it be known to those at the table that I am concerned about this weekend, for I am not sure that the coordinator will make sure that we have enough people on hand for this weekend. So I told the sorters to tell their friends that we are really going to need help.

Just a few more days of this. A very good thing. The wonderful world of work really is not that wonderful.

Next: 242. 8/31/18 Another Month Ahead

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