Here at Echo Environmental, and at similar facilities everywhere, workers scrutinize the stream of recycled material coming down the conveyor belt and grab the things that shouldn’t be there.
It’s an unglamorous but essential task to ensure that the recyclables aren’t contaminated. If there’s too much unwanted material, the entire load goes to the landfill instead.
So they regularly pluck out unwanted items ranging from diapers and foam containers to garden hoses and Christmas trees.
But last month at a Waste Management facility in Surprise, Ariz., a new challenge slithered down the line: a 6-foot live python.
Manager Al Gallagher said the snake was alive, but passive.
“It had to get tumbled around quite a bit and jostled, picked up by the loader, put in a drum feeder,” he told a local TV station. “It went for a ride.”
One of the line workers – and the current favorite for Employee of the Month – picked up the python and put it in a box. “I’m impressed,” said company spokeswoman Jennifer Rivera. “I probably would have needed CPR.”
The company said the incident was a good lesson that recycling bins aren’t trash cans, and that we all need to pay attention to what we’re tossing in them.
The python, meanwhile, was recycled to an animal shelter.