Monday, September 29, 2008

Saving The Planet Is Trashing My House

Remember the 70's TV show Sanford and Son? When I would watch reruns of the show, which is about a father and son who co-own a junk business, I would cringe at the thought of living in a house brimming with junk.
Well, that show is my reality now that I'm trying to recycle everything I can. My house is filled with bins containing some sort of "to-be-recycled" material, such as corrugated cardboard and paperboard.
I'd love to turn everything over to our trash collector, but can't because it only takes certain plastics, glass, aluminum cans and paper. Those materials only touch the tip of the recycling iceberg. Our local recycling center will take corrugated cardboard, paperboard, juice box containers, phone books, clothes and shoes, so I store those materials in my basement until I can drive the stuff over there. I try to keep things in neat piles, but that only lasts a few days, and it soon looks like the photo below.
But there are limits to what the recycling center takes. It doesn't take bottle caps, but Aveda stores and salons will and use the to make its packaging. So now I have a bag of bottle caps that I will run over to the Aveda store at the mall when I get a chance.
Molly, queen of the junk-filled basement.
I've also got a tub filled with old toys and outgrown clothes for the next JBF Sale. Plus, I'm saving clothes that have stains and tears so I can use them for cleaning rags.
Seeing all this junk cluttering my house makes me realize that recycling is only part of the answer to helping the planet. That's the conclusion "Sustainable Dave" made when he challenged himself to store a year's worth of trash in his basement and blog about it. The only way he's managed to do this challenge is by buying less stuff. Trying to to maneuver around small mountains of recyclable materials makes me realize our family needs to do the same.


MaryAnn Ashley said...

I'm impressed by your diligence. Thanks for the encouragement. I think working to reuse & recycle really helps me to quench uncontrolled consumerism.

maggie said...

You are a dedicated woman, and I am impressed. You would probably cringe if you saw what goes into my garbage. Oregon's "bottle bill" was probably a good idea, but now it actually keep lazy folks like me from recycling since it requires taking the bottles to certain places other than near the dumpster. Reading this, I suppose I probably could recycle a can or two when I'm out anyway...

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

haha, you've mentioned how you and I are a lot alike.....well, here's something else to add to the list! haha

I breakdown our boxes, saves space that way. I'm always sad that our recycling center doesn't take more. It only takes #1 & 2 plastics!

When I buy items, I always try to keep in mind how much trash it will produce. I love the idea of individual bags of chips packaged together, but they would just produce too much trash for a simple snack!

I wish more people were like you. I have to pull teeth to get people to recycle around my office!!

EatPlayLove said...

I can relate, my garage was barely walkable because the recyclables were taking up 1/2 of it until this past saturday. I told my husband we recycle to a fault! Good thing we have the truck and eco cycle is just around the corner.

Cookie said...

This is one of the reasons that I love living in Seattle! They take everything. I can throw cereal boxes in the same container with plastic bottles (not caps though). They even take envelopes with the plastic window. And they come right to your curb.
I truly respect your dedication to recycling.