Busted: I Haven’t Been Recycling Properly

The fact that I’ve spent over twenty consecutive years in Seattle, should make me a recycling pro. In Seattle we have recycling bins, yard/food waste bins and then the dreaded everything else. I’ve become really good at not recycling lids and things that can’t be properly cleaned. And I’ve had a kitchen waste bin on my countertop, attracting ants for years. So I thought I had it packed. Until I came to Denmark…

Things were getting suspicious. I’ve been at our house for over two weeks now and my recycling bin has remained full. I set it by the street. I helpfully turned it so that the recycling people could grab the handle without having to turn it around. And yet, day after day, it remained full.

Then, this morning, I saw a recycling truck go by! I heard the wonderful sound of bottles being deposited and the knocking around of tin cans. A little later I went to bring in the bin, but then I noticed that it was still full!!!!

I was devastated. I tried so hard to properly sort everything. Here, in Denmark, the recycling is sorted into four categories: paper, plastic, metal and glass. I was sure to rip the paper from the plastic of any packaging I may have opened! I did not leave any of the screw tops on all those empty bottles of wine! I washed out all of the metal cans!

And then I noticed the note… It was sticking out from the side of the bin. I brought it home and today’s homework was to figure out what it says.

  • din firekammerbeholder er ikke tømt – “your four-chamber container is not emptied” (yes, I noticed)
  • affaldet er fejlsorteret – “the waste is mistakenly sorted” (oh?)
  • der er pap i papirrummet – “there is cardboard in the paper room” (so?!?!)

Okay, I get it. Cardboard is not considered paper here. It doesn’t go in the “paper room”. But then, where does it go?!

My Seattle friend, Jae, suggested I burn it. We do have a fire pit in the back yard and Danes do love them fires…

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