Taking out the trash at the shop has been my oldest, most basic task. Somebody has to throw away all the discarded papers, junked product, and other random debris. If I wasn’t around to do it, we’d be overflowing with rubbish.
In the early days, I had to be careful about garbage getting mixed in with the recycle. It’s not as big a problem as it used to be, mainly because I handle all the trash.
The way disposal works is that there are several small trash bins throughout the shop, marked either “Recycle” or “Garbage.” The recycle ones are mainly green in color.
Then there are big trash cans into which the contents of all the others eventually find their way. My job initially was to empty all the smaller cans into the big cans, and then empty the big cans into the dumpster.
It’s generally an easy task, and really, really hard to get wrong. But when you do get it wrong, it can be incredibly annoying to fix your mistake.
For instance, there have been many times when I was plugging along with a trash can in tow, headed out the back door, totally absorbed in my own thoughts. Maybe I was pondering the state of the Batman comics, maybe I was wrapped up in the latest stretch of the interminable election cycle.
And then, while my mind was occupied with these important, deep thoughts, I casually opened the recycle dumpster and heaved the contents of the garbage bin into it, instantaneously realizing what a stupid thing I just did.
Typically when this happens, I feel slightly exasperated, stand there for a few seconds, and then begin the tedious task of taking the garbage out of the recycle. It’s usually not that bad, as we usually throw away big stuff that’s easy to grab.
The difficulty of this task is about the same when it’s reversed, but with fewer consequences. I’ve found that it’s often perfectly acceptable to chuck recycle in the garbage, but heaven help you if you throw garbage into the recycle!
What does all of this nonsense have to do with printing? Not a whole lot.
Except for one thing: When you’re on the job as a printer, you have to be extremely careful and attentive, or you’re bound to do something dumb, easily preventable, and costly.
Just ask my dad about that time I accidentally sat on a printing tray. Yeesh.
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing commentary on local and business news, along with notes on the state of the shop.