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Symbol Replications | by tnachtrab
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Symbol Replications

Photo of symbol on a dumpster. Photo has been color-modified, replicated, and arranged.

Here's the little (unfinished) story about this shot. In the parking lot of our apartment complex sits a shiny green dumpster. This particular, recently-painted dumpster has been there for a few months now, but I hadn't paid it any special attention. A week ago when I was stalking photos, I took a close-up shot of a white symbol that was stencilled on the side of the dumpster. I remember vaguely thinking something like,

"That symbol stikes me more as a warning symbol than (say) a recycling symbol," but I thought no more of it, until today, when I started playing with the photo image. If my search for the meaning of the symbol gave me the right answer, it's a "Radioactive" symbol. I asked the apartment custodian if he knew why the dumpster might have a radioactive warning on it. He said no, and that he hadn't noticed the symbol. He said that the dumpster is used for yard wastes such as grass clippings, which must be kept separate from garbage and trash wastes which are kept in another dumpster in the basement of the building. The custodian said he does think it is amusing that every week the waste hauler comes, empties the garbage dumpster into the truck, and then drives over to the yard waste dumpster. And, yes, dumps that one into the same compartment of the same truck as the garbage. So my challenge for the summer is to discover how and why a dumpster IMBY has been designated as a container of radioactive materials.

Update: Called the local customer service number for the multi-national waste hauling behemoth (~$14B/yr). I asked if they knew why there was an official looking Radioactive symbol on their dumpster. And then I answered their questions about three times. Each question was a variation on "What?" She then put me on hold to go talk to her supervisor. That was about 9 months ago.

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Taken on June 18, 2007