Monday, September 29, 2008

Recyclables and reusables found Monday, September 29, 2008

Today's recyclables:
  • 3 plastic bottles (1 Aquafina water, 1 Big Burst Blue Raspberry Drink, 1 Brut Splash-on Lotion)
  • 2 glass bottles (1 Bacardi Mojito, 1 Corona beer)
Today's reusables:
  • 1 plastic carrier bag, in excellent condition
  • 2 black pens
It isn't often that I derive any benefit from picking up other people's discarded items. There's no deposit on recyclables here, so I can't make any money by picking up bottles and cans. Picking up pens, on the other hand, saves me from buying my own, so it feels good when I find one. Today was unusual in that I found two pens, of different brands and in different locations, after several months of not finding any. They were both very dirty, but I was able to brush the dirt off them easily and found that they both write well.

Now I want to talk about something I didn't pick up. Be warned that the rest of this blog entry concerns a truly disgusting topic, so readers with sensitive stomachs may prefer to stop reading at this point.

Over the last few months, I've found a number of Diet Pepsi bottles containing urine. I assume they were produced by a driver who couldn't find a rest room. We definitely suffer from a shortage of rest rooms around here, and personally I think that urinating into a bottle is a reasonable way of dealing with the urge to go. However, tossing one's bottle out the window is obviously not okay.

When I decided to start this blog, my inclination was to publish it under my actual name. I decided to use a pseudonym mostly because I knew that sooner or later I'd get to talking about disgusting recyclables like urine bottles, and I fear that my professional standing would suffer if word got around that I had ever handled a stranger's urine bottle. And obviously I must have handled at least one for my nose to have had the chance to identify the vile contents.

Today, there was a urine bottle by the side of the road, and I walked straight past it. I was feeling kind of nauseous already after dealing with a dead animal earlier in the morning, and the last thing I wanted to deal with was someone else's urine. But I feel like I should have dealt with it. And I feel like I should deal with it if it's still there the next time I walk on that street. And let's face it, it will still be there, because no one else in the neighborhood goes around picking up trash.

Still, my stomach churns. I'm not entirely sure why. I don't flinch at changing a diaper, so why react so negatively to uncapping a bottle, pouring the contents onto the grass, and doing a quick rinse? I wouldn't come into any direct contact with the urine, and even if I did, urine is mostly sterile. I'd be interested to know what other folks do when they encounter urine bottles while out collecting trash.

As stomach-churning as urine bottles may be, one point in their favor is that they don't smell nearly as bad as the Brut bottle I picked up earlier. The bottle wasn't sealed properly, and the last few drops leaked out onto my hands when I picked it up. The odor has clung to my hands through multiple washings, and it's overpowering. The only thing I can conclude about men who choose to wear Brut is that their noses don't work!

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