885: Recycling

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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And given how much of my stuff they go through, they definitely know where I live.
Title text: And given how much of my stuff they go through, they definitely know where I live.


Recycling plants often can only process one type of material at a time, which necessitates some form of sorting facility. Randall shows some degree of thoughtfulness in separating his paper from metals for the convenience of the people working at the facility, but then he leaves congealed juice in a bottle, rendering it unrecyclable without cleaning and extra effort on the part of the recycling facility.

Obviously, this would be very annoying, causing the Cueball in the comic (who works in one such facility) to call him an asshole.

The title text implies that the workers know his address, most likely from various envelopes and junk mail that he has recycled.

It is likely in reality that the workers must process quantities of material too large to quickly to be able to pick up on these details and to analyse them to the point of reading addresses. However, such details might be gleamed by automated scanners if they were installed for such purposes.

As always, Randall is both a self-conscious man and a paranoid man.


[Cueball is picking through various items of trash or recycling on a conveyor belt. A juice bottle, empty cardboard box, opened tin can, bottlecap, crumpled and flat sheets of paper, a soda or pop can, and miscellaneous junk are visible.]
Cueball: This guy tears the labels off his cans, so he clearly understands they're going to be sorted somewhere—
Cueball: Yet in the same batch he includes a bottle with like an ounce of congealed juice in it.
Cueball: What an asshole.
I worry a lot about what the people at the recycling center think of me.

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I occasionally have fun with this idea. Once, for example, I saved bottles for months so I could fill the recycling hobo to overflowing with nothing but 2-liters of the same soda. 14:07, 5 September 2015 (UTC)