In Madison, Wis., a liberal college town that embraced recycling enthusiastically when it began in 1991, a fine has never been imposed.
"Seventy percent of the population is going to walk across a bed of hot coals to recycle a bottle. They just do that. They believe in it," said George Dreckmann, Madison's recycling coordinator. More than 90 percent follow the law, and Dreckmann said it doesn't make sense economically or practically to go after the few violators.
You know, we're required to use special clear plastic bags that are emblazoned with the words "Madison Pride." It's not bad enough that you have to put your bottles on display to your neighbors. Good thing we drank a lot of milk this week so there are plenty of bulky milk containers to cover up all the wine and beer bottles that conveniently sink to the bottom -- otherwise the locals might think ill of us -- but then they'd probably think ill of us if we had a lot of diet soda cans -- or even soda cans, period. But we've got to buy special bags that compel us to manifest a prideful attitude about the low-level virtue of recycling. Arrgh.... Time to uncork a bottle of wine and drink a toast to the cloying self-love that swirls through my lovely little city.
But regular readers want to know: How did the test chair work? Well, the chair was gone, but I've got to allow for the possibility that some ordinary citizen came by and decided to pick up the chairs, a la Holly Woodlawn in "Trash." (Note: any esoteric allusion to beer bottles is quite unintended.)