It is December and the New Year is approaching. Every New Year’s Eve I always think of my dad while everyone is making their New Year’s Resolutions. My Dad hates New Year’s Resolutions. Every year he grumbles that if you feel you should do something you should just do it, not wait until the beginning of the year to start. Still, I like looking at my life and thinking “well what do I want to focus on in the next 365 days”. I agree with my dad’s point though. So, in my quest to give back I am focusing on recycling more, reducing my waste, and I’m going to start right now! I’m writing this in early December, forgive me if I don’t post it until later.
Over the next few months I will keep you all updated on my trials and successes as I participate in making and keeping our planet healthy. My first objective is to make sure I am recycling properly. Recycling properly involves more than just tossing trash into the big blue bins. In my research I found out that because recycling is not a federal program but a local one each program can very a lot! It falls on residents to find out what their local program accepts or does not accept.
For instance, my local program only accepts #1 & #2 class plastics. These are the numbers inside the recycling symbol on containers. The tub lids or spray bottle pumps must be removed, and the container has to be washed. Also, no wide mouth containers such as yogurt or margarine tubs (I didn’t know this until recently). I also assumed my laundry detergent jugs could not be recycled, but they can. I’ve been doing this wrong for a long time! I have thrown out a lot of aerosol cans thinking that they could not be recycled, however, the program here allows for it. The paper or plastic wrapper around the aerosol cans must be removed though. See! It gets very specific.
Until recently the absolute worst mistake I’ve made is that for years, YEARS, I have given my containers a cursory rinse before tossing them into the blue bin. While listening to a favorite podcast (Wild Ideas Worth Living, Helen Lowman 2019), the CEO and President of Keep America Beautiful, revealed that if a container is not thoroughly washed everything in the truck load (not just my personal blue bin) is considered contaminated and can not be recycled! I’m still amazed by this.
There have been some changes to our recycling program here recently. Glass is no longer accepted. Batteries are also no longer accepted. This is a bit frustrating because I take all the dead batteries from work home to be recycled. Now I have to drive the bags of dead batteries to a facility that will take them. We used to drive laundry baskets full of glass up the street to the glass recycling bin however there is no longer a local facility that accepts glass anymore. So not only can I not put it in our home bin but there is not a facility where I can drop off glass anymore either. Every time I toss an empty wine bottle in the trash I cringe inside. One goal is to find a solution to the glass issue.
Another goal is to get a blue bin in the brake room at work for plastic bottles. My co-workers use a lot of plastic water bottles and right now none of it is recycled. I am also going to make sure everyone in my home knows what can be recycled, what cannot, and make sure all containers are clean before entering the blue bin.
Here is a link to the Wild Ideas Worth Living podcast with Helen Lowman. You really should listen to it. She also discusses the “When In Doubt, Throw It Out” philosophy. I understand it logically but for so long I’ve just focused on getting more into the blue bin instead of making sure that what is in that bin can actually be used that I feel a pang of guilt when I throw away a container instead of putting in the recycling. This leaves my last goal which is to buy more products which are made from recycled materials. All of this washing containers and driving to separate locations has to be for a purpose, right? We need to make sure that the circle is closed by using recycled materials for new products.
To Sum up, here are my four goals:
- Recycle Properly
- Recycle More: Find some where to take all those glass wine bottles & bring a blue bin to work for plastic water bottles
- Reduce the amount of plastic that I consume
- Buy more products made from recycled materials
I’ll keep everyone posted on how I’m doing!