I'm sure you recognize the above symbol by now. Recycle! In theory, Americans have been urged to recycle since the mid 1970's. It's an extra step or two, sure, but I like the idea. Save the planet and all that. I don't know how successful our country actually has been with the experiment, I've read reports saying both that it's been great and that it's been disappointing. Not sure which is accurate. Perhaps it differs state to state or even county to county. But on the off chance that it actually is working, I try to do my part.
Our city actually gives each home a giant blue recycle bin that has a hinged lid and on Sunday night, every week without fail, I wheel the filled bin to the curb. On Monday morning, now emptied, I wheel it back to the side of the house where it lives just outside of the utility room door. Very handy.
For the most part, it's no big deal once you get into the rhythm of it. I know that most cans and bottles are easily washed and tossed into the bin. Newspaper goes in without question, envelopes, junk mail, cereal boxes, and things of that nature take just a moment or two to prepare for recycle. There are a few things that are tricky to get the lid off of - shampoo bottle manufacturers, I'm talking to you! But for the most part, I don't even think about it anymore, I just do it. And whenever I am in doubt as to whether or not something is ok to recycle, I look for that little triangular recycle symbol. For the most part, easy peasy.
Cardboard boxes however, take a little more time, energy and thought. First of all, I cannot just put them, intact, into the bin. Nope, they must be cut down. There are very specific rules y'see. Dang. That takes a wee bit more effort. Some days I simply do not have the energy to tackle anything bigger than a shoe box. So I stack cardboard boxes at the back of the utility room where they are totally in the way of everything. There they remain until the day that I have either more energy than usual or I'm annoyed enough to finally do something about it.
Once I force myself to do the dang job, usually it's easy enough. A good box cutter will, normally, allow me to cut the boxes in question to the proper size so I can stuff them into the bin (and then vaccuum up all of the little leftover bits that remain....................grrrrrrr). But occasionally there is a superbox to contend with.
A superbox is a cardboard box of superior strength. It has bulk, it has heft, it has thicker than normal cardboard and the corners are reinforced. A superbox laughs at boxcutters. It chuckles in the face of utility knives. It guffaws at at the sight of a hacksaw. (yes I've considered it) I really hate it when there is a superbox waiting to be broken down in the utility room because I know there is going to be a battle.
I faced this yesterday. The superbox in question originally held some giantshopvac that Tim bought. It had to be a superbox to contain this oversized piece of equipment, so I understand the why of it. But that doesn't make me like it any more than a normal cardboard box. And it was such a big box that it was even more in the way than usual. I was just PO'd enough yesterday to finally be prepared to take it on.
I began, as I always do, moving it to the middle of the space. I need room to do battle. I pulled out my trusty box cutter. The box cutter is so named because it is specifically designed for one thing - cutting boxes. The superbox is merely another box, I told both myself And the superbox. The superbox giggled a little bit.
I reached into the box set the blade against the base of one of the sides, right ahead of the reinforced corner, I pressed it hard enough to feel the pop of the knife cutting through that first layer and then, continually applying pressure, I pulled the blade up toward the top. I checked the results. It appeared that I had successfully cut half way through the thickness of the box. Logic holds that if I now do the exact same thing on the outside of the box, ultimately I will have cut all the way through, right?
Except that isn't what happened. First of all, it's hard to duplicate the exact same line on both the inside and outside of the box. The outside has some shiny, slicker matter with pictures and words and do-dah all over it and even though I have pierced that skin, the blade skitters and slides on that slippery coating. ARGH! Ok Perhaps the third pass will do the trick. It did not. I glared at the superbox. I have no successfully cut through one single line of the box yet. The fourth pass did it. It was a sloppy job, but it was done. The problem was, I was already tired out. My hands, which are always uncooperative, are beginning to object to the job.
I couldn't stop though. I had committed to cutting down the superbox so by god, I was going to finish the job. I stood back up a minute to unkink my back and as I felt my vertebrae snap back into their proper places, my eye fell on a different tool. Hmmmmmm. I wonder.............
It was the chonker. I don't know what the actual name of the tool is but I refer to it as the chonker. I use to to trim shrubs and sometimes trees. It has really long handles and actually can cut through some pretty good sized limbs. Logic holds that if it can cut through a tree limb, surely it can cut through the reinforced, double thick cardboard of a superbox, right? It looks like this:
I approached the superbox with a gleam in my eye and the chonker in my hands. Oh it worked. It worked so good. I cut that superbox down to size in no time at all. Just chop chop chop right down the sides. I think I heard the superbox whimper a little. But I didn't feel sorry for it, not one bit! I just kept going. The chonker is awesome.
When I was done and the cardboard was loaded into the big blue recycle bin and the chonker was put back into it's proper place, I found myself smiling as I vacuumed up all the leftover cardboard bits. I have met the enemy And I have conquered!
And that my friends, is what we call creative problem solving! I'm going to go ahead and give myself a little pat on the back as I pass this tip along to you. Taadaa!
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.