Wednesday, June 9, 2010


A recent post on A Slower Pace got me thinking about recycling once again. Mike calls it my hobby.
My children grew up with recycle bins under the cellar stairs. There was one for newspaper, one for cans, and one for glass (which then had to be further separated into clear, brown, green), and one for plastic like gallon milk jugs and shampoo bottles. The first time my daughter came home from her college dorm, she said, "Mom, there are people in the world who don't recycle!" She'd been amazed to see one of her roommates toss an empty shampoo bottle into the trash. You try to protect your children from the cruel realities of life, but eventually they have to leave the sheltering nest.
One of the things that really put me over the edge at work was colleagues who tossed paper in the wastebasket when we had a paper recycle bin in every room. I mean I can feel my blood pressure spike just recalling that. Just pure laziness in my book.
My family thinks I am a bit of a trash Nazi. I do not let them throw things away at family gatherings at my house since everything has its proper destination. My son is the one exception since he knows to ask where to put detritus when clearing the table.
We have an all-in-one recycle bin for clean paper, bottles, cans, plastics (#1-7), and cardboard. Here's a quirk in the system: cans are recyclable and paper labels are recyclable and they both go in the same bin, but if the label is left on the can it is separated out later in the process and is not recycled. I remove the paper labels before putting them and cans in the bin.
I through fruit and vegetable scraps in a backyard compost bin and cover that with grass clippings and leaves. It takes a couple of years, but I get nice compost to spread on the garden. For the past year and a half our waste district has compost collection. They provided covered containers and will accept:
table scraps, bones, egg shells, dairy, salad dressing, and sauces
fruits and vegetables
bread, rice, pasta
meat and fish, including shell fish, and cooking oil
coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
paper napkins, towels, tissues, and noncoated paper plates and cups
oily pizza boxes, soiled newspaper and paper bags, wax paper,
flour, sugar, and potato bags without plastic liners
dryer lint, pet and human hair
Our garbage pail pretty much holds only styrofoam and plastic packaging, coated frozen food packages, plastic caps smaller than an inch, and used toothpaste tubes. It takes a while to fill up.
I do get a bit aggravated when we are in Florida as they do not have all-in-one recycle or any kind of household composting. I have to keep the stuff that cannot go in the disposal and might smell too quickly in the freezer. The city of Venice does provide garbage pickup twice a week covered by taxes, though. We have to arrange a private pickup service or cart stuff to the transfer station ourselves.
Okay, reading this over I can see I am a bit fanatical. There are worse obsessions to have.


  1. I commend your efforts and inspired to improve my own!

  2. Oh, Lord. I just wrote a long comment and blogger couldn't post it. :-/

    I am a Nazi about recycling too!

  3. A Very interesting read. Portland is just now beginning the compost recycling you mention. Our son recycles all that into his compost in his back yard. Caleb is very familiar with the process. He once found a big snail around the compost and Caleb named it "Fluffy."

    Here in our apartment complex we only have containers for glass, paper, and all other trash.

    By the way, I bought cloth napkins today.

    You are a rabid recycler.

  4. Way to go. I love the idea of compost recycling but fear people would dump their beer cans and cigarette butts.
    We had to remove regional recycle bins in Florida for people just dumped their garbage in them.
    Glad you have better trained and more responsible people there.


I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.