Monday, March 28, 2011

Confessions of a Recycling Junkie

I have been an avid recycler for years. My husband gives me a hard time because I often wash plastic containers in the dishwasher before I recycle them. He wonders why I wash our trash. I have my own logic. I want the items to be clean while they are sitting around until trash. Dirty containers attract bugs and I don’t like surprises when I pick up something.

Lately, I have been known to grab something out of the trash my family has thrown into the trash can instead of placing it in the recycling can. I then kindly remind them that the item is recyclable. I recycle as much as I can. Cardboard tubes from paper towels and bath tissue rolls, junk mail, magazine inserts, the list goes on. Each week our recycling container is fuller than the actual trash can. Sometimes I can’t put out all of our recyclables because the bin is full. I often I feel like I am the only one on the block that recycles, which is a shame.

Not only do I recycle as much as possible, I compost a lot of table scraps, tea bags, coffee filters, and even the paper which tea bags are wrapped in. I don’t add any meat or dairy items to the compost bins. I do, however, compost egg shells. They help add calcium to the soil.

I didn’t realize myself, how much a recycling fanatic I had become. Last night we had dinner with friends. As the table was cleared, so many things were tossed into the trash. This included a large plastic sour cream container. I didn’t see it go in there, but there it was staring at me. I felt as if it was screaming at me each time I threw something in there to get me out of here! I wanted to grab it out of the trash, rinse it and recycle it. It took all my strength not to.

Why don’t more people recycle? It doesn’t take much more time to rinse out a can, glass, or plastic bottle, and separate them on trash day. Once you get into the habit it becomes natural.

Recycling is one thing I hope my son continues to do when he is away from home and also when he grows up and is out on his own.

There are many environmental benefits of recycling. These are just a few listed on the EPA’s web site:
Benefits of Recycling

• Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases U.S. competitiveness.

• Recycling reduces the need for landfilling and incineration.

• Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials.

• Recycling saves energy.

• Recycling decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.

• Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.

• Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations.