Seth Knable is disgusted. Several Madison-area employers he's worked for have been lackadaisical if not outright negligent when it comes to recycling.
"I feel so bad for the environment," says Knable, who's worked at Little Caesars, Papa Murphy's and, most recently, McDonald's. "It just burns me."
On one past occasion, he's called city recycling czar George Dreckmann to complain. But even afterward, much of what could have been recycled wasn't. And he says the McDonald's in Monona he worked at until recently "just threw all their paper into the regular trash." (The restaurant's owners did not return a call seeking comment.)
Dreckmann says commercial businesses vary widely in their level of compliance: "Some are excellent. And some just don't do it." Overall, "the business community could be doing a much better job of recycling than it does now."
Sometimes, employees just don't care. And some businesses balk at buying additional city bins or spending for a recycling service.
Recycling of items including office paper is mandatory, and violators in Madison are subject to fines of up to $200 a day. But Dreckmann admits there's no actual enforcement, for one main reason: "I have a staff of none."
But he does send warning letters to businesses he hears are not complying. Workers can call him at 608-267-2626 to report violators or just have a heart-to-heart with their employer. "It all depends on what you're comfortable with."