Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adventures in Recycling

For the past month I have been telling myself I need to take a picture of my ever growing recycling piles. And then today I took all the recycling to the receptacle, and completely forgot. So you will just have to trust me that for the past month I've had 3 large brown bags of sorted recyclables in the kitchen.
For those of you who regularly recycle, this probably won't sound all that interesting. But I have never lived in a place where I had to actually break out my recycling before. So this was all new and perplexing to me. (In the past I just dumped all my recyclables into one big bin together. There was no sorting. And therefore, no reason for me to analyze my waste.)
I learned a few interesting things by having to sort out my junk like that. First, I use a TON of paper! I really was surprised how much faster the paper bin filled up than the others. Second, wow do I go through a lot of plastic. And third, I hardly ever use any aluminum! That was a surprise to me. And I had no glass.
There were a few items I just couldn't decide what to do with. For instance, the dog food bag. It is recycled paper on the outside (or so it says), but the inside has a plasticky/shiny/slippery material. I don't know what I'm supposed to do with that. The other confusing material was the backing/packaging that pills come in. The kind that you push through foil. Is that recyclable? I have no idea. And so those two items are the only things that went in the trash can this week. In fact, I didn't have any "trash" to take outside for 2 whole weeks. That was kind of cool. Oh and Styrofoam. My take out Chinese food comes in Styrofoam containers (which I ate at my sister's and put in her trash). Where does that go? They don't recycle it here in town, so do I just toss the evil stuff in the trash? I don't like that idea!
Next, I discovered that they do have recycling pickup here in our neighborhood, but only if you have all the right bins. I have none of the bins. So I had to take my bags (brown paper) down to the sorting center and dump it myself. It is an annoying hassle, but I think I can keep up with it.
My next plan is to attempt composting. I still haven't had the time to read up on it yet, or start the process. But one of these days I will get to it. I would love to not have any actual "trash" each week. The idea just excites me. Maybe I will ask Santa for a composter for Christmas?
Experience recyclers- help me! I need your advice! Where do I throw pill packaging and Styrofoam?
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