Life Advice



Ask Amy: Household needs a recycling czar

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife and I have been married for eight years.

We’ve always shared household chores, which has worked well.

She recently put her career on hold to focus on our two small children, and she is an amazing mother.

My only complaint is her apathy toward recycling. I’m constantly picking recyclables out of the trash and trash out of the recycling bin.

Recyclables that do make it into the correct bin are often contaminated with food waste which, I’ve read, gum up sorting and processing machines.

I’ve gently reminded her of the proper way to handle recyclables, but I am usually met with a “whatever” attitude or dismissive comment about “washing garbage.”


More often, I just quietly pick through the respective bins and put things in the right spot, but I feel like that’s encouraging her to continue not to care.

I realize in the grand scheme of things this is a pretty minor infraction and part of the issue is my meticulousness, but I’m wondering if you have any suggestions on how to persuade her to care more about proper recycling etiquette?

— Wearied Waste Warrior

Dear Wearied: My solution is to suggest that you simply realize that your wife is a nonstarter in this regard, and to stop campaigning and correcting her. I am thereby appointing you the Recycle Czar of your household (your scepter is in the mail). As such, you will take on this job with enthusiasm and without complaint. Furthermore, I’m appointing your two young children to be your official assistants.


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