05/21/2010 12:34 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

NYC Department of Sanitation Praises Recycling Efforts of St. Patrick's Day Parade Revelers

Sanitation workers who cleaned up Manhattan after the 2010 St. Patrick's Day Parade were moved almost to tears when they saw what this year's crowd had left behind: thousands upon thousands of used plastic spring water bottles that had been carefully recycled as emergency urine containment vessels.

"Until about ten years ago, we would find maybe a few hundred of them after a parade," said Sean Mulrooney, a 30-year veteran of the Department of Sanitation. "Since then it's almost doubled every year as people started becoming more and more environmentally conscious, so we knew it was coming. But let me tell you, to be out there on a truck when the first rays of sunlight suddenly pick up the golden glint of seventeen thousand plus used plastic water bottles that could easily have been thrown away but were instead thoughtfully recycled as emergency urine containment vessels, it''s just awe-inspiring. One minute you're thinking, 'Here we go, another miserable day of obstructing cross-town traffic out of spite by angling the truck at each stop to prevent vehicles from passing,' and the next your faith in humanity is completely restored. And seventeen thousand bottles means it's not just local Irishmen who care about our planet, but Italian guys from Staten Island and New Jersey as well. If that isn't a sign that humanity is headed in the right direction, I don't know what is."

The Department credits the under-30 element of the crowd for the environmentally conscious behavior. They say the youthful propensity for heavier drinking earlier in the day on March 17 means heavier water consumption later on, which in turn means more urine and a sufficient number of empty water bottles to accommodate it. Combine these factors with the innate sense of commitment to the environment that characterizes today's youth culture, and the result is what the Department calls a "perfect storm of green urine containment."

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