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In the relatively small, sleepy college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, there is a modest asphalt lot hidden behind scrubby trees—an ugly duckling, to be precise.

This humble place has existed for decades. It continues to be a weekly destination for hundreds of county and city residents—why? We recycle.

After coming here weekly for over a decade, I decided it is high time to honor this tiny worker-bee of a place. For here the phoenix rises…

Welcome to our little recycling center

Welcome to our little recycling center

Although most area trash haulers now offer single stream recycling, there are still hundreds of folks, like myself, who prefer to trek our recyclables to the bins found at the McIntire Recycling Center. We do not need to pay high monthly prices for single stream disposal, as we compost AND recycle. Many businesses also use this service, and because we lovingly separate, McIntire has less contamination than the single stream process.

The man on the left is a retired solid waste employee and the wonderful man on the right, Our Man Emanuel, is the daily manager of the site.

The man on the left is a retired county solid waste employee and the wonderful man on the right, Our Man Emanuel, is the daily attendant of the site. The container behind these men holds the free library selection.

One of the many powerful mechanicals in use

One of the many powerful mechanics in use–the CRUSHER!

Our man "E" creates amazing displays to educate visitors and avoid contamination

Our man “E” creates amazing displays to educate visitors and avoid contamination

Separate please

Separate please, no corrugated here. Notice the convenient location of hand sanitizer and towels…”E” thinks of everything!

there is even whimsy here made from cast offs

there is even whimsy here made from cast offs, artfully placed by our man “E”. These displays flank his “office” cooling/warming station.

P Allen Smith would like this

My friend P Allen Smith would like this

pay attention to your metals!

pay attention to your metals!

Even the resident kitty mascot Gravy watches every move here

Even the resident kitty mascot Gravy watches every move here

Co-mingled plastic bin at last!

Co-mingled plastic bin at last!

newsprint and magazines here please

newsprint and magazines here please

one diligent UVA professor contributes his personal glass

one diligent UVA professor contributes his personal glass collection

those dead phone books have a bin all to themselves

those dead phone books have a bin all to themselves

even family pets get into recycling!

even family pets get into recycling!

there is team spirit here!

there is team spirit here!

in this college town, plenty of signage continues to educate

in this college town, plenty of signage continues to educate

Often the subject of heated funding debates between County and City, this little recycling center that could—does.

Copyright © 2013 by Diane LaSauce All Rights Reserved