Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Paper weight

My all-time favorite TV show, "Grey's Anatomy," titles each episode after a song. I had this idea that I'd do the same thing, or at least have each blog be a play on the name of a song. It's my even-if-it's-a-stretch way of tying in something I love (music) with something I have a love-hate relationship with (namely, writing and, already, this blog).

So, for today, we have "Paper Weight." In 2008, I did a really comprehensive story about all the recycling options in my newspaper's coverage area. What could be recycled, and where? Immediately after that, I started recycling for the first time. It was never that I had this huge conviction about saving the planet. It was that I had all this garbage, and if it could be put to use instead of just rotting, then why not? As I continue to write "Tangled up in Green," you'll discover quickly that efficiency and "why not" are my prime motivations in most any green or not green choice I make.

So, as I was saying, we started recycling.I bought a little waste basket for plastics, a big tote bin for paper, a large trash can for aluminum cans and one more little waste basket that we used for tin and glass. Our system wasn't that organized and things really piled up quickly. Our trash, however, cut down to almost nothing - maybe one bag a week. I was shocked at all the material that went through our household that we were just throwing away before. Paper, by far, made up the vast majority of our recycling. The second offender was big plastic jugs for things like laundry detergent and milk.

And so it went for a couple of years. We let the piles build and build until they drove us crazy and then drove it all to the recycling center. Until a few months ago, when it had all piled up just too much, and the man of the house set it all out with the trash. Life got busy and we took a break from it all. Now our trash is mounting again and I am feeling guilty.

I'd like to get a better routine going. The light bulb went off that maybe if I just reduce what we're bringing into the house then that might be another way to go about going green. When my husband grabbed a roll of paper towels at the store Saturday, I told him I was thinking of cutting back on those. He had a momentary freak out, told me I was taking "going green" too far, and said he refused to go without his paper towels.

Now, if you know me, you'd know that I took it as a challenge. If my husband won't give up paper towels, then I need to get a recycling regimen going again.

We don't have curbside. Any tips to share?

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