It was last Wednesday, Earth Day, when Isthmus asked the U.S. Postal Service in Madison if it was no longer recycling large quantities of plastic wrap.
"I hope we're recycling it," said Karen Cronin, the post office's spokeswoman. "We try to recycle everything here, so that kind of surprises me."
It is kind of surprising. Until about a year ago, the post office was bundling and recycling the shrink wrap that magazines and other materials are sent in. According to one employee, "a couple of bins-full a day" of this wrap now gets thrown out with the trash, and a machine the post office bought for bundling it sits unused.
Cronin, after looking into the matter, called back to say the post office used to make money off this material, but then the market for such recyclables bottomed out. Her post-Earth Day take: "Due to budgetary constraints right now, we cannot pay extra to prepare the recycled materials and also pay to have it hauled away."