Madison resident John Schallen admits he was once "kind of against" mandatory recycling. But now he's become something of an evangelist, pressing businesses and others to make use of recycled products, and to proclaim this prominently.
Thus Schallen is aghast that the "Recyclopedia" distributed in December by the city does not state that it is made with recycled paper. City recycling conquistador George Dreckmann says there's a simple explanation: "Because using recycled paper is now just the normal order of business."
Dreckmann says all of paper used for the "Recyclopedia" - and any other city purpose, from office paper to tax bills - has a minimum 30% post-consumer recycled content. "It's just what we do."
Schallen also notes that the city's recycling bins do not state they are made with recycled plastic. Dreckmann says they do in fact have at least 20% recycled content.
Couldn't they be 100% recycled?
"That's a good question," says Dreckmann. "The answer is the old adult undergarment: Depends."
While the city did not have an option of buying carts with a higher recycled content, Dreckmann says it might balk if this significantly raised the cost. And he notes that 100% recycled plastic comes in only one color: black.
In other words, if the city wants to keep using green carts, it must be a bit less green. Yes, that is ironic.