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I believe myself to have some of the best-traveled recycling in the city. This is hubris, you might say. Why just the other day you went around the block to find a place to lovingly deposit your empty plastic bottle, and that is some darn good traveling.

It may be, my friend, it may be. But behold. This is where my recycling has been in the past two days:

If you we are friends on fb, you will know that I have been riding around town looking for the yellow plastic domes into which to put my recyclable plastic bottles. I know, I know, plastic will kill us all, and I just really like the bubbles in the agua con gas, and anyway, I’m trying to do the right thing here, so bear with me.

The red no entry signs on the map (generated from at mapmyrun, which I love) indicate where there should be, but are not plastic recycling domes. The one in Parque de Los Reyes I added in myself, because it does seem like a giant park should have some recycling.

There used to be domes in the Plaza Brasil, and also, a plaza which I am told is called Sta. Teresa de Los Andes but which everyone calls Sta. Ana, because that is both the church it is opposite and the metro it is at. First I piled all my bottles into a giant bag (squashed them first, so more would fit) and rode over to Plaza Brasil, where I struck out. In fact, there is no longer any recycling there, though there is a sign that says “Zona de Reciclaje” which is simply not true, unless they are in the business of recycling air. There are some nubs on the ground where the bolts holding the domes used to be.

Then it was off to Plaza Santa Ana or Teresa or whomever, where the glass dome is still in place, but the yellow plastic one has also gone missing.

Then I came home, and checked out the municipality of Santiago’s webpage, specifically the environmental section, and more specifically, the page.

And here I found that there is (or shall we say should be, in a small piece of foreshadowing) recycling at the following places:

Intersection of Portales and Cueto
Plaza Yungay
Intersection of Libertad and Mapocho

And so I dutifully set off, bottles in bag, whereupon I discovered that lo! Nary a yellow dome. I can’t say I was completely surprised, although truly annoyed. But at least I got to have the following interactions with people.

1. Riding down the right lane of the Alameda to take a right down Bulnes to take the ciclovía, one helpful motorist suggested at great volume that I take the ciclovía. (he meant the one down the Alameda, which is in the middle of the street and does not directly connect with the Bulnes one). I have GOT to work on my flying bike skills, so I can leap, pedaling like ET from ciclovia to ciclovia, and stop bothering motorists with my presence.

2. Riding for 20 feet up a street the wrong way while traffic was stopped, to get to the next corner, by a person who walked out into the middle of the street to cross it, without looking in either direction, and who I absolutely did not come close to hitting, and to whom I apologized. Him: what are you doing? you’re going against traffic! Me: What are you doing? you’re crossing in the middle of the street! Him: But you’ll get hit! Me: so will you but not by me! Him: (making crazy sign with finger next to temple) What is wrong with you? Me: Do they not teach you how to cross the street in this country? (maybe not my finest moment, but I did not mention his mother even once in this detente).

Then, because I was worried my recycling had not yet gotten enough air, I brought it to the bank with me. I parked my bike outside and left them dangling from my handlebar. I hoped someone would come along and steal the bottles, but had no such luck, and now we are all safely back at home, ready to write a scathing note to the municipality to find out where exactly, in Santiago Centro I am supposed to recycle my bottles. If a 10k loop isn’t a wide enough net to cast, perhaps I should go further? But the truth is, I’m probably going to end up bringing them up to another comuna in the coming days. Which annoys me no end. Come on Santiago Centro, get your act together. I’m pleased as punch to see the street signs back up, but how hard is it to get your recycle on?

And so ends my recycling rant for today. I was actually wondering if I could shred them myself and turn them into something useful but then I remembered I don’t even own an iron, so it seems unlikely.