The recycling bin had far more promise. Stories of late nights with loud company drained each glass bottle with a sense of nostalgia and purpose. Those bottles deserved to be re-used and immortalized so that its energy could keep circulating for years to come.
The recycling bin was a tragically glamorous presence. Sure, used up empty products threw themselves at it – hoping to find the fountain of youth in a more promising afterlife. But the recycling bin was suave. He had but one purpose in life. To save money for the tenant.
Every week the recycling bin lured glass bottles and plastic containers out of their comfortable refrigeration. Subtly reminding them of an almost out-of-date expiration, he made the process seem whimsical and for ‘the good of the community’. Never mind that most of those spaghetti sauces were still good, the recycling bin was able to convince almost all of them of a better life ahead.
If not recycled, he coaxed, an object’s very presence and soul might not live on to contribute goodness to society.
Although the sentiment was understandable, there was something about the trendy ‘go green’ sticker plastered onto plastic that made me think of a salesman more than a do-gooder.
The one object that was never good enough to be recycled were the jelly jars. I loved the jelly jars. As a dying breed, they were all the more exotic. They were thick and old fashioned with an unself-conscious air about them. They were not delicate in the same sense as a vanilla bottle. I had a feeling that if any kind of fight broke out, the jelly jar could hold her own. Her presence was too tough for recycling.
“You can’t come in here,” the recycling bin shut down as soon as he saw a beautiful jelly jar heading his way.
“And why not?” The jelly jar balked.
“You don’t belong with the others.” Pregnant looking wine bottles with decorated cursive lounged in the sun. A Coldwater Creek catalog bristled.
“You belong over there,” the recycling bin pointed to me.
I stared at the ground. I knew, even though I couldn’t see her, that she must have been disgusted. No one wanted to be with me. Week after week when the used goods were sorted out, everyone always hoped they went with the recycling. I waited anxiously for her dreams to shatter.
“Good,” the jelly jar said instead. “I’d rather be trashy than miserable.”