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Just Can-t Bottle Up His Greed

, , , , | Working | April 21, 2022

I recently moved to a state where there is a recycling charge on every bottle. I’ve noticed that my company does not have a recycling bin.

Me: “Can we set up a recycling bin?”

Boss: “Why?”

Me: “To recycle our bottles and cans. It’s money we can put back in the company and—”

Boss: “It’s five cents.”

Me: “Per bottle. We’ve probably thrown away hundreds if not thousands of dollars.”

Boss: “Look. I’m not going to tell people they have to recycle. It’s a waste of time and resources.”

Me: “Okay… If I buy the recycling bin and sort everything myself, can I keep the money?”

Boss: “If you’ll stop bugging me, I don’t care what you do with it.”

I bought a few bins, set them up, and went around asking people to please try to recycle as much as possible. Some people even brought in their own recycling because they didn’t want to deal with finding a recycling center that was open when they were off work. Within two weeks, I had about 500 bottles and cans. It wasn’t a fortune, but it was enough to fill my gas tank for a week. I took the recycling home, sorted it, and got the money back. The day after, I was called to [Boss]’s office.

Boss: “What did you do to the recycling?”

Me: “I turned it in.”

Boss: “And the money?”

Me: “It’s in my desk.”

Boss: “Give it to me.”

Me: “You said—”

Boss: “You took company property to turn a profit for yourself. That’s theft. You could be fired.”

Me: “You said—”

Boss: “I spoke with our finance department. That money belongs to [Company].”

Me: “Well, not all of it. Some people brought their personal recycling in.”

Boss: “Look. Give me the money. It belongs with finance, not with you.”

Me: “Okay.”

I was not happy with this but I handed it over. When I got back to my desk, I was still upset, so I reached out to my boss and CCed finance and Human Resources.

Me: *In the email* “Thank you for allowing me to set up recycling around the building. In the future, would you like me to continue giving you the money I receive for turning in the recycling, or should I give it directly to finance?”

I immediately got a call from finance.

Finance: “Hi, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yes?”

Finance: “We received your email, but uh, what recycling money?”

Me: “Oh, [Boss] told me he talked with you guys.”

I recounted both the initial conversation and the one I’d just had.

Finance: “I see. Well, in the future, we have no problem with you keeping the money from recycling. If you decide to turn it in, do not turn it in to [Boss]. Come see us.”

As it turned out, [Boss] had no intention of turning the money in. He was terminated for his dishonest actions. I wonder if the $25 was worth it.

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