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.