Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Are you a crumpler?

Imagine you have a sheet of paper to throw away. Do you crumple it up before tossing it out or just put it in as it is? (Ideally you would recycle it, but we’ll exclude that option from this particular thought experiment.) Does your answer change depending on your proximity to the wastebasket? What about the size of the piece of paper? Or the amount of trash already in the container? So many things to consider!

I understand crumpling a piece of paper in frustration, but it seems many people automatically crumple, despite the extra effort involved. Perhaps they do it to reinforce the “trash-ness” of the paper—their mental archetype of a discarded piece of paper is necessarily a crumpled ball. Or perhaps crunching the paper into a ball allows them to turn the act of throwing it away into a miniature game, but this reason loses validity if the person is sitting next to the trashcan.

Conversely, it seems when most people discard empty food containers, such as plastic bottles and cardboard boxes, they neglect to compact them. This means a trashcan accumulates trash much faster than it would if the containers were compressed. The effort required to flatten a cardboard box or compress a plastic bottle is minimal and saves a surprising amount of space. Admittedly, the satisfaction gleaned from squashing these objects is inferior to crumpling a sheet of paper, which turns into an aesthetically pleasing and aerodynamic ball.

Compress containers, and you’ll be amazed at how much less frequently you will have to take out the trash. Or do one better and just recycle. Paper. Plastic. Glass. Even cardboard. Pretty soon all your trash for the week will fit in one plastic grocery bag. Which you shouldn’t use, because they’re bad for the environment. So stop crumpling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.