Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Recycle This!


I received a lot of comments on my post about switching to a renewable energy source that said something to the effect of: "Renewable energy wasn't available in my area last year, but then I checked the site and now it IS available! WooHoo!" (ed: WooHoo! emphasis added). And so I thought it might be a good time for all of us to revisit another old friend - our municipality's waste management site. You know, just in case things have changed and we somehow got left out of the loop.

Checking what can and cannot be recycled in my area was one of the first changes I made last year, and I was SOOOOO glad I did it! I moved to Virginia from Upstate New York three years ago and never bothered to learn how my new town handled recycling. A lot of things I thought were recyclable in New York, weren't in Virginia and vice versa. I learned that cereal boxes could be recycled in Virginia, but pizza boxes could not. I learned that my local recycler can accept #1 and #2 plastics, but that #3, #4, #5, #6 & #7 were not recyclable where I live.

I could ramble on and on about what I learned, but it would be pointless, since every municipality is different. You need to see what is recyclable where you live. So off you go, on another hunt for information. Shouldn't take too long, just Google your county/parish/city name and the words "recycling program". Yeah, it's a party in a pc. Nothing says "good times" like spending an afternoon scouring the internet, looking for information on recycling. It's like surfing for porn, except it's boring and you can use both hands when you type.

If you happen to go to your local area's recycling site and don't learn anything new, then you get an A+ today for being such a smarty. You also get an extra assignment: Plan a field trip to the recycling facility to see how it's all done - in person! I visited our recycling facility this past spring and learned stuff at the site that I never would have discovered just by perusing their website.

When you're done, tell us something interesting or weird that you learned about recycling in your area!

17 comments:

organicneedle said...

Okay...could I modify this assignment to one of forcing my neighbors to visit the NYC Recycles site in a Clockwork Orange-esk fashion? (Here is the city they actually send out cards with PICTURES on it to help the recycling challenged and there still seems to be a bit of confusion.)

ib mommy said...

Something I learned recently..... my recycling service accepts #1 and #2 plastic but ONLY in bottle form. The plastic manufacturing industry numbering system is really confusing so other items with 1 and 2 on the bottom contain different polymers and characteristics that don't allow them to be recycled with bottles. So, everything I'd been putting in there was going right in the garbage anyway.

Usage Unit said...

I checked the county website when I first moved here to Rochester and it turns out they take waxed paper cartons (milk, oj, etc.). I've never seen that anywhere else.

Heather @ SGF said...

We actually have three recycling facilities in town. One for each of the twin cities (Bryan and College Station) and one for the University. Believe it or not - THEY TAKE DIFFERENT STUFF! Why they don't work together, I'll never know, but for instance, the cities won't take shoe boxes, cereal boxes, etc. The university center will! The problem is that most people don't know that the university has community recycling drop off hours (only 4-5 PM M-F). We've been trying to help get the word out.

green with a gun said...

"It's like surfing for porn, except it's boring and you can use both hands when you type."

Maybe you could do an article on low emissions entertainment?

Wendy said...

We did this a while back, when we found out that we no longer had to sort our recycling. They just dump it all into one big truck, and then the truck takes it to a sorting/recycling center.

What we found out, that was totally awesome and cut our waste by a lot, was that we can recycle ALL plastics #1 through #7, which means all of those yogurt tubs and cottage cheese containers could be either reused as storage containers OR recycled. I was psyched!

Jennifer said...

My city sends a newsletter out every spring noting teh changes... we can now recycle those waxed milk and OJ containers! I read it every year...

tara said...

We dont have recycling at all but they do a town over. In over 2 years they havent asked I was from there. I save up about a months worth and make the trip. I started when I saw how many milk jugs we put in the landfill. We drink 7 gallons a week. Thankully they take milk jugs.

Lori in webster groves said...

I checked our suburb's recycling guidelines and discovered that jar lids, phone books, and those plastic rings they use to hold soda cans together are specifically included in our single stream program. We still can't include waxed paper items like milk cartons. Like ib mommy, our recycler does not take #1 or #2 plastics in non-bottle form and only takes #3 plastic if it's a narrow-neck bottle. Hmmm, I wonder how narrow that neck needs to be...

From our county webpage, I noticed that they offer a generally free e-cycling program for county residents. They'll take old tv's, printers, copiers, calculators and other gadgets you can't offload on freecycle.

And now I know. Thanks for reminding me to check on the rules!

arduous said...

@GWAG, well at least internet porn is more emissions-lite than video porn, right? Less plastic waste and what not?

I wonder what's more emissions friendly? Internet porn or sex? Someone do the math! You can find the carbon cost of a condom on the internets right?

Christy B said...

I live in an HOA that has community dumpsters.

NO recycling. The city contract does not allow for recycling in multi-family communities. The city I live in is in some sort of denial about the environment.

The waste company insists that everything in the dumpster is recycling so just dump everything all together. However, when pressed their figures fall from "everything" to "about 40%-60%".

Like Tara, I found a neighboring city that has multiple recycling dumpsters set up to dump stuff in and I take everything there.

However, just like the waste company my "everything" drops in reality since I live in the teeniest of houses with no extra room so saving all of it gets very complicated.

leslie said...

Why do they make the numbers on the bottom of recycleable plastic cartons so danged tiny and hard to read?

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

No recycling in our little comunity on the Missouri. We just moved here and we are learning. We may be able to recycle paper at work. Inspired by your post, I searched online(again) and found that the closest recycling place is 60 miles east! If we go 150 miles, to Sioux Falls, we can recycle plastic #1-7.
Fortunately, we have a whole garage bay to store stuff in.

daharja said...

Going to the recyc facility - what a good idea! I wonder if they do guided tours for kids? I'll find out!

green with a gun said...

My council recycles a lot of stuff, as you can see here. The only plastics they don't take are the wrapping sort of plastic, the styrofoam stuff, and hard plastics like plant pots, the stuff they make kettles and toasters from, and so on.

They have "green waste" collection which is just the garden waste, they don't take kitchen scraps and food. But we can compost them ourselves.

So really there's very little we need to put into rubbish. If you take cloth bags you won't get plastic bags to throw away. That leaves the wrapping plastic, so for example if you buy a packet of biscuits, usually there's a plastic tray which is recycled, then the wrapping around it which isn't - but that doesn't weigh much.

And of course you can shop in a way that reduces the packaging. If you buy lots of fresh fruit and vegetables then you avoid the tins and packets, you can just pile them all into your cloth bag, they don't need individual plastic bags. Just put the hard ones in the bag first, onions and potatoes on top of tomatoes mean you'll have to put your bag in the laundry when you get home ;)

Robj98168 said...

Great post burboun mom- I just did what you said and got my yard waste bin. It also doubles as food waste- they take the contents to I suppose Cedar Grove and let it compost on down. Too Cool!

Mrs Green said...

I've learned that you cannot put black plastic, even though it's a code 1 with the bottles that go into the number 1 recycling. The colour contaminates the load :(