Thursday, April 03, 2008

Not just the grass is greener...

Chimpotle's post yesterday about wallets made from recycled materials reminded me of a post I've been meaning to put up.

Leo and I haven't been avid recyclers for most of our lives. I think his parents recycled. And I know my dad does...he has a special trash can for it at his house, so that makes it easier. (I mean, they come and pick the stuff up from his place, like a regular trash pick up, you know? Handy dandy...) But I've never made a particular effort before this year. I heard about the recycling center down in OP through the little Overland Park newsletter thingy I get at my house, and thought I should start collecting our plastic water bottles/other plastic bottles instead of trashing them, along with all the aluminum cans that Leo goes through on a weekly basis.

First thing we noticed? Our weekly trash output went down 2 BAGS. (We use the 10 gallon suckers in our kitchen can.) We now only have to put our one trash can out at the curb with everything inside of it, instead of the trash can PLUS 2 more bags lying next to it waiting to be picked up on Friday mornings.

Yes, we drink a LOT of water from those little bottles. And the frightening thing is that I have a large mug I use while at work, so I'm only contributing to that output when I'm home at night/on the weekends. Yikes!

So we collected cans and plastic bottles for a month or so, and then Leo saw this show on BBC that he wanted to check out. It was called "Dumped" and it was basically a little reality show a la BBC that had several people move into a dump for a few weeks (I believe it was 3 weeks total), and they had to survive on what was there in the dump. Well, that's not entirely accurate, really...they had to find shelter and other ammenities (chairs, shower material, etc...), but they were provided with food.

Unfortunately, after the first episode, we ran into an issue where Time Warner decided they should move BBC America to an upper-tier cable channel (like in the 200's instead of under 100) which keeps us from being able to view it seeing as we have a splitter on our t.v. so our TiVo can record two channels at once. They moved it so they could have it in HD, or some bullshit. Yeah, I don't need HD as bad as the rest of the world apparently needs it, so I don't understand this logic. There's room for it on channel 78, and yet they moved it to 200-something in order to keep some sort of consistency going with their "free" HD network they offer. I understand movies and sports events being broadcast in HD. I do NOT understand why I need to have the option to watch Gordon Ramsay in HD at any given time. Just plain stupid.

So we only watched that first episode, and hopefully we'll be able to catch the rest of it when it's released on DVD.

Regardless, Leo suddenly was on super-recycling mode after we watched that one show. He created boxes for us to recycle our junk mail, all catalogs I get, the cardboard that we receive at the house...everything.

I'm not kidding when I say we might be down to just 1 and a half bags of trash being put out of our house each week now. And there's probably more that we could do if I would just get less afraid of the composter in the backyard, dammit!

It's been an interesting transition. Yes, we have different recepticles all over the place for collecting our cans, plastic, glass, and paper products (glossy magazines go in a different one than the other paper, thankyouverymuch!), but it's well worth it if we're helping as much as we can with our "contribution" to the local land fill.

That recycling center in OP is at 119th Street, right behind the Time Warner office, ironically! (Behind a fire station, as well...between Metcalf and Antioch, if you're wondering about the general area you should be looking for.) It's a busy place on a Saturday (encouragingly enough), but Leo's started taking our stuff down there on his days off, anyway, so that helps a bit. I told my friends about it at the bar, and one of them replied, "Yeah, but how much GAS are you wasting driving all the way down there to dump stuff." I was all, "Um, I drive down there daily for work, anyway. And we only dump the recyclables once a month, so that's not a really valid argument against it, in my opinion." People who want to find reasons NOT to recylce? Really chap my hide.

Get a couple extra trash cans. Don't forget to throw the cap on all the plastic bottles away before you toss them to the recycling bin. And know that you're doing a good thing for the environment.

15 comments:

Coley said...

living in California has totally spoiled me with recycling. EVERYTHING is recycleable and they come right to your house to pick it all up.

But living in Milwaukee, not one place I lived had recycling pick up. So, we would pack up all the bottles and cans (and this was college, so you know there were lots of beer bottles), and leave them next to the trash. Then the homeless folks in our neighborhood would grab them, take them to the recycling place and claim the redemption value. Even more convenient!

faithstwin said...

There was a story here yesterday about a lady who isn't homeless but she wanted to contribute to her family. Every mon-fri she gets up at 3 a.m., puts on some gloves and pushes a shopping cart for over 15 miles on a route she has established. She then takes what she has found to the recycling center and earns, on average, $120 for each load.

I have been able to go down to the smaller trash can (which is cheaper for me) since the girls and I recycle EVERYTHING. Good thing is we don't have to separate the stuff, the trash company does that for us.

emawkc said...

Faith,

I think you really need to consider the harm you could be doing to the environment with this behavior.

Consider this, by removing so much material from the refuse stream, you are removing the bulk of material that is used in landfills.

If everyone begins to behave like this, we could end up with lots of landfills with nothing in them.

Do we really want gaping holes in our land? Really? Landfills must be filled.

Faith said...

There *IS* a lot of open space as one drives out of California into Arizona, emaw. I hadn't thought of that! Thank you for showing me the error of my ways! Without my trash, that land could just stand empty and barren for the rest of its life. That's so WRONG.

Twin...DUDE! That is more than I make in a week! Well, just barely, but still! I don't think I'd want to make my money by pushing a shopping cart along a 15 mile route every day, though. Bless her heart...

Coley, the midwest clearly hates recyclers. I just need to face it and deal.

meesha.v said...

Here is my contribution to YOUR recycling. I am sure your husband will be extatic to have one of these jars in your house.
My city charges for recycling and until they stop it ain't happening.

faithstwin said...

I know! Believe me, if people left their trash out on curbs around here as readily as they do in the area she is in, I would SO be out with a shopping cart! (I wouldn't steal one, though, I'd invest in one somehow)

Some days are better than other, they said, but still- an extra $500 a week while you get exercise and help the world out?! Hell yeah I'd be all over that...

Faith said...

GAAAHHH! No Meesha. NO! Bad, bad, bad...

I mean, I can go mildly hippie for certain things, but I'm not switching to complete hippie, particularly when it comes to being a chick. Because godDAMN, can you imagine what someone who uses one of those things even smells like? AUGH! AUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!

faithstwin said...

I had never heard of those devices...wow. I mean, just wow. It's both interesting and gross to me.

Alisha said...

Even more gross-some people use the collected fluid as paint in their "art".

Faith said...

GAH!!! GAAAAHHHH! Literally screaming in my cube here!

Ohdeargod, NO.

"The D" said...

I just recycled $1300 bucks worth of loose change! what the fuck else do you want me to do?

meesha.v said...

now recycle the paper

Faith said...

I would gladly volunteer to help with the recycling of that paper, D. Just let me know where and when to meet you for the collection. I'll even buy you a beer as a thank you...

Chimpo said...

We go to that recycling center. It's 119th and Hardy for people who want to map it.

It sounds like you have a similar setup to what we do at the house. We keep all the bins in the garage and generally only put one tall white kitchen trash bag out every week.

If you really want to do something though, you should axe the bottled water. Just get a filter for your tap and a Nalgene or something. JoCo has some of the cleanest water in the country. Just think about all the products wasted in the bottling and the energy consumed filling plastic bottles with water. There is a reason government offices have started banning it.

Waldo Oiseau said...

I just assumed that all of JoCo and Kansas City Proper included recycling with regular trash pick up! No?

It's great having a big blue bin that we can just put all our mags, cans, etc., and set out next to our trash bag each week. For everything else (glass, wire hangers, egg cartons, any metal, etc., we too head over to the recycling place on 119th.

Faith, good for you for starting to recycle. It'll get easier over time and you'll be very proud of yourself.

Lastly, I second Chimpo on the bottled water. As much as possible, avoid it! Having a filter on your faucet or fridge is the way to go. Besides, think of all the money you through away on that bottled water. It ain't cheap!