I was telling Kale for Sale last week that i had begun fishing through the rubbish bins at work. Yikes. Ive become a bin lady. Seeing the stuff that gets tossed; food scraps, tuna tins, pot o soup bowls and tetra milk cartons is getting my knickers quite twisted but it wasnt until Thurdsay that i started really fishing around in there. Enough was enough. My duds had seriously twisted and then caught fire! It reminded me of when i was a kid, travelling in a car on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with my best friend and her parents and they stopped to pick up a discarded Coke can. Stopping on the bridge is no mean feat but this was a full on recycling mum who rode around on a bike with a roof slate and chalk tied to the handlebars of her bike for her shopping list! I was pretty embarrassed then but I think Ive been affected.
While i was on leave i had been thinking about the problem of lack of recycling at work and how to manage it, but being part time coupled with the local politics ( admin vs academic staff) i felt there was not alot i could do that would be effective. Trying to organise and managing a recycling system would not go down too well with the already maligned administrative staff who seem to take matters of the kitchen as their crucible. One slip up by me; forgetting to take it home if I had organised it would be a akin to murder in the first degree and i dont think there woud be many willing to cover. 'Forgetful' (imperfect) academic staff aren't forgiven easly. Oouch. So i had comitted to just doing it quietly; sort through it at the end of the days when im at work and just take it home as my own business. Until I read Mels post on normative behaviours, which pretty much just spelled out the doubts Id had about my 'system' (or lack thereof). Quietly taking home other peoples waste wont change how people view tossing their rubbish in the bin but if they know Im taking responsibility for their s/crap and taking it home to recycle or compost maybe they'll start taking responsibility for it themselves or will they just get pissed off with me for sticking my nose in 'their' business?
So in the process of writing this post Ive become at least clear that i need to have a discussion and that the relatively informal atmosphere of morning tea is just the place to start. I just cant believe that a 'Group of 8' university, which advertises itself as a leader, innovative and responsble, doesnt have more than a paper recycling system in place. Somethings gotta give. If a then middle aged millionaire could ride around with a slate tied to her bike and take the time to stop and pick up a can someone has discarded on a busy freeway, surely we can all take responsibility for our lunchtime tuna tin, or at least let me?