From Grumpy Greener


A Dialogue between a Fool and a Philosopher about the Mini-Desk Bin Waste System


Fool: “A couple of months ago we were told that the university would be implementing ‘the new mini desk-bin waste system for UWS offices.’ It’s exciting! It’s a policy! It’s a system! It’s new! It’s MINI!”


Philosopher: “But isn’t UWS all about polishing turds by giving things these management-speak style names to pointless and wasteful changes?”


Fool: “But the MINI-DESK BIN WASTE SYSTEM can increase recycling. It also ‘increases individual responsibility for waste created.’ Even ‘a number of Executives’ (with a capital E) have been taking responsibility for their used food wrappings, apple-cores and pencil shavings by keeping them on the desk throughout the working day. UWS is a green paradise for the workers!”


Philosopher: “Nobody’s going to collect rubbish from our offices.”


Fool: “Oh. Actually that’s very annoying. But there must be good, logical reasons to think that this will do good for the environment?”


Philosopher: “Probably not. Will you really think ‘oh, better not get McDonalds for breakfast on the way to work because there’ll be no bin in my office to dispose of the wrappers?’ Not likely”


Fool: “But maybe it will. Maybe we will be so annoyed by this that we won’t show up for work. Problem solved.”


Philosopher:  “Even you, Fool, can’t make this make sense”


Fool: “Yes I can. In the excellent email that helps us understand how the ‘roll out of the system’ will occur, and how it will in the process ‘engage staff in our sustainability goals,’ as a ‘UWS initiative,’ we’re told that we will receive a rubbish bin that’s about the size of a coke can. The bin is made of strange red plastic, it’s a cube with an open side, and we have to assemble it ourselves. It’s not water-tight, so you can’t put a tea bag in there without making a mess on your desk. And that’s the best bit, it sits on the desk so that when I’m meeting with a distinguished visitor from Yale or Cambridge we can both contemplate my limp old banana peel, used dental-floss, and dirty Kleenex as we talk!”


Philosopher: “I threw mine in the bin and hid my old, ‘under-desk’ rubbish bin before they could take it away…”   


Fool: “’Under-desk’ rubbish bins may have been used for thousands of years, but UWS is innov… UWS is sustain…  How much did this crap cost? Could we have planted trees instead of 1. Producing stupid cubes that don’t do the job of holding rubbish, and 2. throwing away our old bins into landfill? I’m so over-heated with anger I don’t need a blanket! Aaarrrgghhh”