Previously, this was a blog mostly to harass my poor friends and family with the details of my life. Don't worry-- that will continue. However, I'm also going to use this as a terrible forum for dialogue about green tips and eco-revolutions. Hopefully it will be helpful and entertaining...

Monday, May 04, 2009

More Thoughts on Recycling

...because you really can't have enough. Yesterday I tried to post some of the basics. Today, I thought I'd try to point some of the less obvious aspects of recycling.
  • You can't recycle pizza boxes-- At least not most of them Earth911 has explained why, which makes a lot of sense. They point out that, if you can rip out the food- and grease- contaminated parts of the box, you can recycle the rest. However, I'm not convinced that recycling places have the time or manpower to check to see if you've done that or not. It's worth checking with your local recycling center. Myself, I think I'm going to try to see if pizza places might let me bring in my own container. I'll let you know how that goes... And I'll be making my own delicious pizza more often.
  • Another side note... you know that handy little recycling triangle of arrows? It doesn't mean that the container is or is not recyclable. It's just a symbol used to say: "I am this type of plastic!"
  • I also wanted to let people know that, although you should do a quick rinse of recyclables and make sure to get any huge clumps of food out, don't waste water (or your time) getting them perfectly clean. Recycling centers wash everything out with some fantastic high-powered water, so by fully cleaning your own containers, you really are wasting water. Specific for you drinkers: you don't need to get the lime wedge out of the bottle for them to recycle it... Happy day!
  • Yet another reason that green can still mean being lazy: You don't have to take labels off containers! Again, don't waste the water or the time. Just rinse it quick and chuck it in the (recycling) bin!
  • Greasy plastics generally aren't going to get recycled-- so things like peanut butter jars should really just be tossed rather than wasting water on something that will just get thrown out
Even MORE information can be found over at Confessions of a Closet Environmentalist, but it seems like the best thing to do is to contact your local recycling center and ASK, if you are at all unsure.

Don't let all of this overwhelm you. It's good to focus on one aspect every week or two-- like making sure you know the rules for plastics and are following them. The next week or month you can focus on metal containers. Don't get discouraged if you think about how much more there is to learn or do. Instead, stay focused on how much you ARE doing already and the steps you're taking to increase it in the future. Doing anything is better than doing nothing. And, of course, doing nothing is actually doing something huge: throwing away everything is a pretty big action. Recycling even a little and working to something larger is great, compared to the alternative.

I'm sure there will be more recycling tips, but I hope to move on to reusing next...


Anonymous said...

I still think you should work on the Nicholas school having a recycling bin outside in a parking lot where people can drop off recycling if their place doesn't offer it or something :)

Kayleigh_A said...

That's a good point, especially because Duke is able to recycle plastics 1 through 7-- Durham only recycles 1 to 3. But, if you're interested check out the laws of Durham which state that residents and business can get fined for not recycling-- so if apartments don't offer recycling, you should be able to call the compliance number and make it happen! Let us know how it goes if you decide to follow up on it!