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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Recycling is Fun

When we first moved into our new apartment, I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to set up my "recycling center". It took me a few days, but I found a solution that works great. This slick little drawer system fits perfectly in my hall closet (no, it doesn't sit in the middle of my kitchen as shown in the photo). It can comfortably hold about a month's worth of recycling. I have a separate basket for newspaper/office paper.

I didn't realize how wonderful curbside recycling really was...until now! When we lived in the house, I had 2 huge bins in the basement that I could throw stuff into. Every 2 weeks I would set it out, and poof! The recycling fairies would come and take it away. Now, I have to carry these drawers down 3 flights of stairs to my car and drive it to the metro recycling center (about 5 minutes away) where I hand sort it and throw it into the appropriate containers. It's too bad I don't have one of these nice reverse vending machines in my neighborhood. However, it does give me a great opportunity to talk to Bella about recycling while we're driving there.

If you're reading this and you aren't a recycler...give some thought to the following:
  1. Recycling conserves our valuable natural resources.
  2. Recycling saves energy.
  3. Recycling saves clean air and clean water.
  4. Recycling saves landfill space.
  5. Recycling can save money and create jobs.
  • Americans throw away 44 million newspapers everyday. That i’s the same as dumping 500,000 trees into landfills each week
  • Paper products make up the largest part (approximately 40 percent) of our trash.
  • Paper products use up at least 35 percent of the world's annual commercial wood harvest.
  • People in the U.S. throw away enough aluminum every three months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
  • Americans throw away enough glass bottles and jars every two weeks to fill the 1.350-foot towers of the former World Trade Center.
Recycling is much more than just tin cans and newspapers. Recycling just means "to use again" or "to adapt to a new form or function". We live in a disposable-obsessed culture...and we tend to think we can only use things one time. There are many things around the house that can be re-used. I recycle my tin foil. I recycle plastic bags (check out this cool contraption). I recycle the envelopes/packaging that people send me. I recycle jars in my kitchen and use them for food storage. I wear recycled clothing.

Whenever you recycle, you are not just saving that item from being thrown away. You are saving all the resources involved in making a brand new item from scratch. For example, recycling aluminum saves 95% of the energy used to make the material from scratch. That means you can make 20 cans out of recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make one can out of new material.

One of the greatest things ever invented is a recycling network called Freecycle. Freecycle's mission is to keep stuff out of the landfills. See if your town has'll love it.

You may be overwhelmed and not know where to start with recycling. Call your local recycling center and find out if they provide curbside recycling in your area. Most will provide free bins. Then, start with just one item. Then move to other items. Cereal boxes, cans, plastic bottles, glass containers...there are so many things that you can keep out of your trash by recycling. Start today...every little bit helps.

Find this information and more fun facts about recycling here.


Blogger earthchick said...

Love your little recycling set-up. We have curbside pickup, but we still need a place to store the stuff between garbage days, and this looks like a workable idea that wouldn't take up too much space.

I'm a HUGE fan of freecycle, too - it's amazing the things I can find homes for that I might otherwise have thrown away.

10/25/2006 6:30 AM  
Anonymous Kim in IN said...

We are big recyclers also. I just use paper grocery sacks to put recycles in. Then on trash/recycle day I just throw the sack and all into the recycle bin provided by our trash/recycle service. I think your method is nice and neat though,I like it.
Love your blog Sara.

10/25/2006 7:05 AM  
Blogger the green mama said...

I love your recycling setup. I'm still in search of a way to set mine up in the bottom of our pantry. Since its open to the kitchen, it needs to be nice and neat. I think I will take a look around on Freecycle, etc to see if I can find some sort of bin setup. We drop off our recycling once a month when we take what little trash we have to the landfill. Going there inspires me to see how little I can throw out, and we don't have enough for weekly trash pickup anyway.

Really liking your blog!

10/25/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

In our little town, the curbside recycling takes newspapers and milk jugs, and something else, I don't remember. Our green bin is always full of milk jugs every two weeks. The rest I drive in whenever I remember.

I found a really neat bin for our recycling inside the house at IKEA.

10/25/2006 11:51 AM  
Blogger Jacran Cottage said...

What a great set-up for recycling! I have to admit to not recycling my garbage since we moved here two years ago. We had to where we lived before, and if you didn't sort your garbage right, you got a letter from the garbage police (I did ... and the only way they could have done that is to look through my garbage for my address!! It was a townhouse complex and everyone put their bags in one pile.)

I been feeling compelled to start recycling here but couldn't quite figure out how to organize things, so your post is very timely. I think I'll check out Canadian Tire on my way home to see if they have one of those. Thanks for the tip!

Jackie in ON

10/26/2006 9:19 AM  
Blogger Faith said...

Love you organization of recyclables! How tidy!! I am reusing an old plastic container we'd stashed in the attic to keep all my recyclables in until we take it to the drop-off. I store it in a corner of my kitchen with the lid on so little K-A can't get into it! The first day or so without the lid she thought it was great fun to get plastic bottles etc. and stew them down the hall.
I took my recycling for the first time on Wednesday - I discovered that it's just at the end of my street - how convenient! There is even this nice old gentleman who sorts it for me!
I love it that my girls are getting exposed to the ideas of recycling now and that it's something we are able to talk about regularly.

10/27/2006 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great recycling set up. My kitchen is way too small for that kind of set up so we put things out in trash cans outside. It's one of dks's daily chores to take out the recycling.

My town is great in that we recycle just about everything. Curbside is junk mail/paper/magazines, newspaper,cardboard, plastic bottles, cans and glass. At the recycling center you can recylce 6 pk holders, ink cartradges, phone books, electronics, batteries and flourescent bulbs of all kinds. Town picks up yard waste that is in brown bags that biodegrade. I can recycle packing peanuts at the local shipping store and motor oil at a local gas station.

I am always thrown off when I visit someone out of state and I go looking for their recyling container for alumunium cans or junk/scrap paper. I'm horrified if they don't have to do it!

10/27/2006 2:47 PM  

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