It finally reached the point where it was so broken and brittle that I was afraid it would fall apart. So I called the recycling center to ask what I had to do to get a new one. The person on the phone took my name and address, and promised that someone would stop by during the week to drop off a new recycling bin.
“Do you want me to leave the old bin out by the street?” I asked.
“No,” she replied. “They won’t pick up the old one.”
And then she said something I could scarcely believe: “Because it’s not recyclable.”
Staggering under this crushing irony, I asked, “How do I dispose of it?”
“Put it out by the curb on trash day. You have to put it into a trash bag, or the trash collectors won’t pick it up.”
So somewhere in our local landfill are thousands of old recycling bins, concealed in garbage bags like the bodies of Mafia snitches, unable to perform the one service they were designed to provide.