I had NO idea you could recycle that!

Last month I had a great conversation with my sister. She lives in Portland, Oregon and is very conscientious about how we can take care of our environment through recycling.  It’s truly amazing what a huge effort the NorthWest is making in this effort. The stories I’ve heard from her about how extensive the program is up there, how they hire recycling managers for public events, how they are distributing city-wide curbside composting bins and much more, left me feeling like I wanted to do a bit more. Up until that conversation pretty much the only thing I threw out in my recycling container was: plastic water bottles, soda cans and occasionally a plastic gallon milk jug or empty cardboard boxes. My sweet sister called the customer service rep for my local Hawthorne trash company and found out they accept so much!

To be frank, I didn’t feel like committing myself to anything that would add something else to my list of to-do’s or things to worry about or things to feel badly about not doing. After a few days of the idea ruminating in my head, I figured it wouldn’t be that much extra work to add a paper bag next to my normal trash can, and as I thought about it, to throw recyclable items in that bag.

WOW! Let me tell you, I’ve felt the shift begin to happen in my consciousness. It’s actually amazing to see how much recyclable trash we accumulate in one week alone! It’s almost become a fun game now- to see what else can make its way into the paper bag. Each week I send out at least one, but usually two of these paper bags FULL of trash that I would otherwise have sent out to my regular trash can. I’m feeling a bit accomplished as an environmentally conscious citizen these days.

Check out this list if you care to give it a try. Honest, it’s not much work. Just a new mindset.

* Paper/Cardboard – any and all paper/cardboard (including magazines, junk mail, cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, etc.)* Glass (i.e. rinsed out food containers, bottles, etc.)* Aluminum/Tin (i.e. soda cans, canned food containers, etc.) – no other metal besides this

* Plastic – ALL plastic, any number on the bottom + any kind of plastic that doesn’t even have a number.  I was pretty dumbfounded by this one, so I asked him to give me examples of what’s okay and he said the following:
– assorted food jars/bottles (with or without numbers)
– plastic drink bottles
– containers like cream cheese, sour cream, butter, etc.
– strawberry containers, clear plastic take-out “clamshell” food containers
– plastic lids
– broken CD cases/cassettes, broken plastic toys, broken tupperware
– plastic wrappers (i.e. from TP or kitchen paper rolls), zip lock bags, bread bags, etc.
– pretty much ANYTHING that’s plastic (it should be rinsed clean / shouldn’t have food residue on it)

After it’s picked up from your house, it gets taken to a Material Recovery Facility where it’s sorted into different types of recyclables.  If it’s something that Jacob or Natalie might be interested in learning more about, he said that the closest one is the Carson City Transfer Station and you can call and ask for a tour (Ph # 310-217-6300).

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