A Polemic: Recycle Your Aluminum Cans

By Milo Gardner-Stephens

I have had it up to here with these aluminum cans in the trash cans. I see them every day and I’m sick of it. That’s not where they go. They go in the recycling. We all know this. They taught us this shit in elementary school. I could honestly probably end the article here having conveyed the main point of my argument, but given that we apparently can’t do something as simple as recycling a can, perhaps I need to elaborate.

As someone who’s generally concerned about the environment, it pisses me off because the can is going to needlessly take up space in a landfill, and not recycling aluminum necessitates further aluminum extraction to produce things. As an economics major, it annoys me because recycling aluminum is cheaper than mining it. (By the way, you guys know that aluminum is infinitely recyclable, right?) As someone who values common decency, it aggravates me because the janitorial staff has to sift through the garbage every day and take out the recyclables. And don’t think I won’t call you out on this shit. People already know me as “shoeless guy” and “dish return guy” — do you really think I’m afraid of being known as “aluminum can guy” as well? For a school ostensibly full of leftists, you would think we would be more conscious of the environment — especially when doing so literally requires putting your empty can in the blue bin instead of the gray one. A well-trained macaque could do that. 

Now, I’ll grant that sometimes there’s a trash can nearby but not a recycling bin. And hey, I get it. It’s not like you have somewhere you could put your can until you see a recycling bin. It’s not like literally everyone who attends this school has some kind of place to store things constantly on their person, like some kind of… pack you carry on your back or something. So what are you supposed to do? Just hold onto it? Like a peasant? Like I said, I get it. It’s hard. But lots of things are hard. It’s hard to stay on top of your schoolwork. It’s hard to get to class on time. It’s hard to dig through the trash cans every day to pick out the items that students couldn’t be bothered to recycle. And yet, we do all those things. Maybe — just maybe — we can manage to recycle our cans as well.

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Aluminum Can Guy Fan
Aluminum Can Guy Fan
4 days ago

I think you should emit a harrowing screech that brings a hush over the room every time you peer into a blue bin and spy aluminum. It would bring great awareness to the issue.

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