GreenDisk–Scam or Salvation?

So in preparation for building our economic stimulus wall (not, sadly, between church and state, but merely down the middle of a room that is too large by half), I am cleaning out the crap that has accumulated in the vanity nook outside the bathroom door. A long, long time ago that was a functioning sewing area, complete with a set-up machine and fabric organized neatly by color in labeled shoeboxes. Then I picked up knitting, and, well, skeins of yarn don’t stack and bundle so well. And then Fella and Filly got interested in it, so I had to put a baby gate across the hypotenuse. That was the kiss of death. There’s nothing like a corner that gets no foot traffic for becoming a garbage pile. It’s been very convenient to dump stuff behind the gate and think no more about it. But when the wall-builders come (contractors, sadly, not lawyers and judges), that vanity needs to be gone so the wall can be textured, and I am up there stirring up the dust.

Currently on lunch break, of course. (One can of Andersen’s Split Pea Soup for 3 points, seven reduced fat Triscuits for 2 points, and one wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese Light, French Onion, for 1 point, which does double-duty as a milk serving. Yay!)

Among the many random candles and picture frames and–???–acrylic paint bottles was this crate of VHS cassettes. Ah, the memories! These were mostly made in the mid-1980s when my family got both a VCR and HBO for the first time, back in the good old days of cable when you could advertise a “Surprise Secret Movie” for midnight New Year’s Eve and it would be Ghostbusters. We’ve got The Goonies, The Jewel of the Nile, Pee-Wee-‘s Big Adventure (with the error of the plastic chain feeding up through the bottom of the bicycle storage container which has been removed from the DVD), Star Trek IV, Back to the Future, and Lucas, among less popular others, like House and Morons from Outer Space. Those were heady, heady days. Because I can’t just ditch heirlooms like this, I have to email the family to see if she wants any. My Mother writes that she does not expect to watch another thing on tape in her lifetime. (Still waiting to hear from Brother; it’s fifty-fifty if he’ll say yes or no. On the one hand, he has material guilt and a very small apartment and tries to go without possessions, but on the other hand he hates to see things given away to strangers or put in the trash. Such is the dilemma that faces the upwardly mobile in Berkeley, CA.)

So I have confirmed that just about everything on these tapes is available on DVD, save one: Emo Philips Live at the Hasty Pudding Theater (some excerpts are online). I haven’t looked around online and I’m sure you could torrent it if necessary, but that’s a tape I’ll be keeping as long as I have a VCR in working order. So long story short, most of these cassettes gotta go. Although I in theory love the idea of knitting shit out of the unwound tape, it’s just not happening. I got too much shit on deck to knit out of real fibers first, plus there’s a quilt simmering inside me waiting to come out. So I look online to see if you are supposed to recycle them, which will let me know if I will be putting them in the trash with a clean or guilty conscience. Turns out there’s this company called GreenDisk that will recycle electronic clutter for you… provided you pay them for the privilege and ship it at your own expense.

So I’m not saying that this is a scam, exactly, because I bet they do take your money and recycle your materials just like they promise. So if I found my own box and paid $6.95 for their shipping label and schlepped it and two babies in a stroller to a post office and stood in line and paid probably $18 more dollars, is all I’m getting peace of mind about a landfill? I can totally understand why a business or large group would have dealings with a company like this, because they can get penalized for not disposing of electronic stuff, and the penalty probably exceeds the cost, and they can also promote themselves (to clients and future employees and shareholders) as greener than they would otherwise be perceived to be. But me? Seriously… what exactly am I going to get out of this?

Consider for a moment that the extent of my guilty conscience will be a moment of regret for throwing these cassettes in the trash, which will surface when I pertly inform a friend or nodding acquaintance that they really ought to do the responsible thing and send their crap to one of these places for recycling.

Perhaps I should start a side business buying up plastic crap from other people until I have enough accumulated in my house to start negotiations with National Recycling, a global leader in waste stream solutions. I bet I could buy a lot of plastic crap for cheap, and perhaps even get some for free! The company promises to provide logistics assistance, including referrals to port and rail heads. Of course, with two car seats in the back of the car and a stroller in the trunk, it’s going to be a lot of trips to the rail yard. With gas prices what they are, it may turn out not to be worth it. And so another entrepreneurial venture hits the ground gasping.

I have a confession to make: If Brother wants none of these tapes and if the landfill won’t take them, they are going into the trash. Sorry, descendants! Yeah, I’m kinda flip about the whole topic. But think of it this way–the less time I spend managing trash and driving places to dispose of it, the more time I have to tend to my patio garden, which is offsetting some carbon. So what is the moral of this story? I don’t think the Laughing Cow Light Cheese Wedge French Onion flavor is as good as the original. Contrary to what you might expect, this reduced calorie spreadable processed cheese flavoring tastes a little fake. Stick with the original.

EDITED TO ADD:
Hah! I knew it! I’m not just a bitchy sister making fun of the damn hippies in NoCal… I am insightful and had Brother’s attitude pinned. From an email sent the next day.

    I get really attached to objects from childhood, sort of as triggers to summon detailed memories. There are several of these I’d be eager to at least examine before they go away. Would it be possible to stash the box in your creepy basement room until I can come take a look (probably in September)?

So he doesn’t want to let them go but he wants me to store them for him. That boy is tricksie he is. And rather than act or not act on recycling these tapes, I will store them until September as asked. Now I can tell other people what to do without a trace of hypocrisy, for another few months at least.

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