Tuesday, September 3, 2013

re-re-re-recycling

Actually thats only one of the 3R's and the last one to boot. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I've become a little pre-occupied (obsessed?) with recycling lately. Mostly how much trash we (household) are throwing out. He has been recycling cans, boxes, glass and plastic since before I've known him but just recently we started talking about really how much stuff we throw into the trash and how we can reduce, reuse and recycle what we throw out.

So I started getting excited and wondering what my county accepted at their recycling centers. I googled that shit, and landed here:
http://www.berkeleycountycomm.org/links/recycle.cfm
where I could look up items by letter and find if you can drop them off at the center.

Curious as to what your town/county recycling center accepts? Here ya go:
Virginia
Warren County
Loudoun County
Fairfax County
Prince William County
West Virginia
Berkeley County
Jefferson County

We did a little more research and reading and decided we could definitely reduce our consumption, recycle more, reuse more, and began to look into composting.  We picked up two more bins, and basically set aside an entire (small) closet for them to separate our recyclables.


top to bottom: plastic bottles, plastic packaging & bags, card & paperboard, paper, glass/bi-metal/aluminum cans

   But recycling doesn't just magically happen. It takes fuel, power and energy to turn things into other things. So reducing is VERY important. Reduce so there will be less to recycle.
-Instead of buying cases of bottled water (guilty) I am using a refillable plastic bottle and a Brita water pitcher. The Brita pitcher itself is a little pricey around $29 - $39 and the filters are $18 for 3 . So youre looking at roughly a $50 or $60 purchase, BUT! One Brita filter will give you 40 gallons of drinking water. Thats about 302 plastic bottles, not manufactured, purchased or thrown away (sitting in a landfill). So thats a pretty good investment to me. I refill my plastic water bottles and use a rubbermaid refillable bottle when Im running errands.

-Re-usable grocery bags . Yes, you can buy them (usually for $1 a piece at the grocery store) or use other bags you have to lug your groceries home in. I always felt slightly dorky contemplating using these, but there is nothing dorky about trying to be more ecologically responsible.

-Shred mail/sensitive documents for compost

-Re-use microwave safe/dishwasher safe take out containers

-Opt Out of junk mail/weekly paper delivery/catalogs in the mailbox. Consider it spam. Sure you can sign up for a service to do it for you, or you can call the company and ask them to stop sending paper catalogs/advertisements & offers/junk mail. Read the newspaper online when you can. Reuse  / Recycle the paper mail that you do receive (just tear the plastic see thru window out)

-Donate your old clothes, and other items in good condition to second hand stores and
buy stuff from second hand stores.  Donations are tax deductable (make sure to get a receipt, or not, if you want to keep it charitable ;) I am a proud Goodwill shopper! (where else can I get so many black t-shirts for cheap?)

-Food Keepers instead of sandwhich bags. They come in a variety of veggies, usually are dishwasher safe and fool proof.  Of course you can use a tupperware container that you already have, but this way my tupperware doesnt end up smelling like a funky onion. I've also seen people use small stonewear jars too, which you can pick up at a thrift store (an old soup crock or stonewear dish with a lid would work too) and you wont have to worry about plastic at all.

-Compost! We just started our own composting project, I'll post more on that later

Our in-cabinet compost pail
I found this really great video on youtube, i feel like it might be a little kids project or something and i feel like a good referring to it but i actually learned a little about it (mostly the percentages regarding plastic/glass & aluminum)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaAnfy9ueeQ

 And then theres this website, which breaks down the numbers between companies, how much of their product is made from recyled packaging, and how much plastic, aluminum and canned drinks are wasted/recycled.I had no idea that 100% of a glass bottle could be made into something else, aluminum - a percentage, and plastic bottles, and even smaller percentage. This has prompted me to opt for glass rather than plastic , and aluminum rather than plastic when making purchases, especially in the grocery store.
http://www.container-recycling.org/

Some people say that its pointless, that we've already polluted the planet and cant turn back the hands of time. Well, that may be true but I will do what I can in my house to at least change how much we reduce/reuse/recycle. While its not much, we have reduced the amount of garbage we throw away, snd the choices we are making when buying things. I am always interesting in sharing tips and tricks, if you have any suggestions please share in a comment or email me

here are some pictures I took from our trip to the recycling center today! Sorry no action shots of me (Dave wasnt really into it) throwing and smashing...maybe next time!

the front gate

and another picture of the front gate

the aluminum can trailer- a TRAILER full of aluminum cans

bi-metal cans (they go both ways... ) if a magnet sticks to it, its bi metal-seperate from aluminum

the bi metal can trailer, one of 2

people doing their part- tractor trailers for paper, plastic bottles, plastic bags, paperboard/cardboard

Thats a whole lot of bottles to be recycled. Maybe there is hope for the human race. Even for you, Heineken drinkers.

the best part is the smashing and throwing of the jars into the other jars

Mulch made of yard waste collected at the center. Pretty cheap for a whole tractor bucket full

You heard 'em ..pie pans and foil only, sucker.

Thanks for looking!

Additional Links & Info

http://www2.epa.gov/recycle

http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/pubs-reports/threers.htm

http://green.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_reduce_your_carbon_footprint

http://www.wikihow.com/Reduce-Your-Carbon-Footprint-at-Home 

http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/index.htm 





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