Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Recycling Gone Wrong

We recently received notification 
that the garbage service we use,
(our city does not pick up trash in our area),
will no longer be accepting recyclables.

This recent change is occurring because of the global problem with recycling.
Countries that usually buy our recyclables
are no longer accepting them 
and it seems the bottom has dropped out of the market.
With nowhere to send the materials,
many municipalities are ending their programs.
Here's an article on the subject.

toilet paper roll seed pots

We're a family of three,
and we've recently managed to get down
to one kitchen-bag sized per week.
Everything else is recycled or composted.

Always an avid recycling proponent,
this latest development really throws me for a loop.
It's been a week since we got the notice,
and I feel just horrible about throwing things in the trash
that I know could be recycled, if only we had the means.

Of course, I had to call the county to find out our options.
It turns out that the county's waste department is continuing their recycling program.
That means that we have to bring our sorted items to their location
and leave them in the designated bins.
Not only am I willing to do that,
I will be stopping our curbside trash pick-up.
There's no sense to take our recyclables and
still be paying for trash pick-up.
Not only will this will save us about $300 a year,
the burden of guilt will be removed.
Although we've found a solution,
it got me to thinking about what we can do
to reduce our garbage and (even our) recycling long-term.

Here are a few ideas I came up with:
 *Give up straws-
I mean, are these really necessary?
Just think what a difference it would make
not to have all those straws taking up space in the landfill.
If I get a beverage out somewhere (which is rare),
I order it with no ice, no straw.
Especially in summer, I never travel without my own
reusable water bottle.  No straw needed!
If you are bound and determined to use straws,
might I suggest buying some glass or stainless steel straws
that can be washed and reused?

daisy totes

*Give up plastic bags-
Bring your own totes to any store,
not just the grocery store.
Encourage merchants to offer only paper sacks
(at least they are biodegradable)
or give rewards for bringing in your own bag.
Many times, a bag is not even needed.
As long as you have your receipt in hand,
you can walk right out of the store with your purchased items.
This one is really a no-brainer, 
anyone can do it.

pot shard bird feeders

*Repurpose items-
Find new uses for things.
This is a great way to use your God-given creativity
to find a new purpose for items you may already have on your homestead.
Not only are you helping the planet,
you may end up saving money
and honing your creative juices.
It's really fun to make something unique
out of everyday items.

*Pay attention to packaging-
Buy items with as little packaging
as possible.  Write to online merchants and share your concerns.
When purchasing at brick-and-mortar stores,
let the merchant know that you are making your purchase
based partially on the lack of packaging.
Alternatively, find another use for the packaging,
such as our coffee can planter shown above.

*Buy bulk and bring your own container-
Whenever possible,
buy products in bulk.
So many food products come this way:  candy, coffee, grains, herbs, nuts, seeds,
spices, tea, even peanut butter.
Bring your own container, have it weighed before items are added, 
and walk out the door knowing you've helped Mother Nature.

*Compost all food waste-
Most things 
with the exception of meat and dairy products
can be added to a compost or worm bin.
There really is no reason to place food items
in the garbage, when they could be used to improve garden soil.
If you aren't a gardener,
perhaps you know someone who is,
and who would be happy to take your scraps.
Maybe you have a community garden in your area
that is looking for items to compost.
One can never have enough compost!
How much less trash would you have 
if you did this one thing?

This week, we'll be relieving our trash company of their duties,
and making our first trek to the local dump.
C promised to help me with this task,
as he is also passionate about our planet's health.
I don't know how long it will last,
but it makes me feel better
knowing that we are not adding to the landfill
any more than is absolutely necessary.

Have you heard about any changes
in your county with regard to recycling?

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