Thursday, September 2, 2010


I think I have mentioned that I LOVE recycling. It makes me feel all virtuous, I know I am doing a little bit for the earth and future generations, and I get a ginormous small thrill kick out of greatly reducing the amount of garbage I send to the landfill.

When I lived in Illinois, recycling was easy. The city gave me a huge (bigger than the allowed garbage can size) bin on wheels. I parked it in the garage just outside the kitchen door, where it was convenient to chuck all my recyclables, unsorted, into it. At the end of the week, I just rolled that behemoth to the end of the driveway. Easy-peasy. Loved it.

Recycling is not so simple here in Lincoln. I live in an apartment complex, so curb-side recycling is out. The complex doesn't pay for recycling pick up, so there are no recycling bins of any kind. The city does have a recycling program and there are many drop-off sites. They don't make it easy even then - everything has to be separated: cardboard from newspaper from "miscellaneous household paper", glass from plastic from aluminum. Perhaps I was spoiled in Illinois but this degree of separation seems likely to discourage people from recycling. "I not only have to cart my recycling away from my house myself, I have to divide it into 17,000 different categories?"

Being inclined to laziness, I initially resigned myself to not recycling. I couldn't imagine lugging those hard, blue containers out to my car each week, not to mention trying to find a place to keep them in the apartment. But the volume of my garbage is so much more than it was when I was recycling - in Illinois, I usually had one bag of garbage each week and often that bag wasn't completely full; here, I have been taking a stuffed-full bag of garbage to the dumpster about twice a week. Not cool. And it causes me severe mental pain each time I put a cereal box or soda bottle in the garbage can.

So. I am going to give remote recycling a go. When I get a job and feel comfortable spending money on things that are not absolutely essential, I am going to buy a set (or two, considering the sorting) of these:Aren't they cute? I think they will be very convenient to lug down the stairs, stow in the trunk, and tip into the bins at the drop-off site (which is, luckily, just a couple of blocks away). In the meantime, I will use my reusable grocery bags. I'm feeling better already. I am doing something small to make the world a better place...and also selfishly satisfying myself.

Green is good.


  1. Our town has a tremendous re-cycling program. It makes it so much easier to feel virtuous!

  2. A couple of ideas:

    Until you buy the cute bags, what about using paper Whole Foods/other grocery store bags?

    Also, do you have a Whole Foods near you? They have amazing recycling programs at their stores. Mine accepts all kinds of plastic, even the kinds that our recycling program won't take.

  3. those are super cute! I am always amazed at how little recycling there is out west--I saw NONE in South Dakota--and I brought HOME a bag of recyclable plastic for OUR bin.
    Brava to you for finding a way.

  4. Fannie - easy virtuousness (virtuosity??) is the best, right? LOL

    Jen - I am using paper bags right now but thought that the reusable bags might be a bit more durable for the short run. I figure I will dump them at the drop off center on my way to the grocery store. Sadly, I have yet to live near a Whole Foods. I have shopped there a couple of times and long for the day when one moves in near me.

    Greenie - Where there is a will... I am learning that I have a whole lot of will. :D

  5. Our town has a recycling program and we just started utlizing it about a year ago. When they make it so easy, how can you not?! And good for you for wanting to continue doing it.