In comparing the coasts, I don’t want to paint in broad strokes (New York is like a steam engine, San Fran is like flowers) but there are some places where the contrasts are too stark to ignore. Case in point- earth consciousness.

New York: In my 40-floor office building, there is only one place to recycle cans and bottles, on the 19th floor. After seeing multiple co-workers toss their Fanta bottles in the trash without a second thought, I started a wee Green initiative. I would collect cans and bottles in a bin near my desk, then periodically empty the bin on the 19th floor.

You’d think I was Captain Planet himself for all the resistance my tiny effort met. Mockery and derision were the main fruits of my labor, but I also had a sitdown chat with our operations coordinator, who told me I was bringing filth into the office and that my operation would be shut down if it got out of hand.

San Fran: Keep in mind, I am working in a different office of the same company. As part of my introductory tour here, I was given full instructions on how to separate compostables from recyclables from “True Trash.” Every item in the pantry is made from nature, from the 100% recycled paper goods to the corn and potato-based utensils. There are even places on my floor to recycle wine corks and used batteries. When I point out how amazing this ethos is, people look at me blankly, like “is there any other way?”


One response to “chiaroscuro

  1. how can this be?

    shame on you NY. I can never find the recycling at my office actually.

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