Do you have a place to recycle? she said holding up to me her paper coffee cup
complete with lid and wraparound brown corrugated sleeve.

There's a trash can behind me. I thumb over my shoulder. I'm not here to take trash
from strangers' hands and don't want them to get the idea that I am.

But it that recycling? she wants to know, waving the white cup in front of me. Really, she wants me me to take it from her. Her problem = my problem.

I don't know if you can recycle those cups (with plastic lids and shiny coated insides), I offer.

She doesn't get it. She's holding onto the cup, turning away from the black-bag lined trash, which is on the ground perpendicular to a blue bin with paper in it and a white triangular recycling logo.

I continue to see her, she's walking around with her empty coffee cup. I want to stop her and tell her to stop drinking out of paper cups or come to terms with the fact that as of consumption
waste must get thrown away in the trash and taken to the landfill. Stop feeling like just because you place trash in recycling you are doing your part to save the earth.