Recycling Part I : at the curb

So, I’m a fanatic. I admit it. It’s the recycling mindset: before anything gets dropped into a trash bin, ask whether it can be recycled or reused. At work, home, school, or in a store. Can the backside of that fax confirmation be used in my printer at home? If there isn’t a bin, ask "why not?" to raise awareness.

If you’re a recycling newbie, begin with the blue bags. Each community has different practices, so check your city’s website to find out what can go in the blue bag. Decide where you’ll keep the bag as you fill it. Mine’s in the pantry, but under the sink or in the garage also work. Do you want it close by for easy deposit or out of sight where you have more room? Remember to rinse out all food containers to prevent bad smells from developing. That kills your recycling mindset right away.

Locally, paper recycling has greatly expanded. Some cities do curbside pick up. If yours doesn’t, consider dropoff at city hall or use Abitibi sites at libraries, churches and schools all over. Keep newsprint separate as it is more valuable (I blue bag newsprint). For mixed paper, I keep a paper bag right next to my trash can to catch all the junk mail, old magazines, catalogs, and boxes. Collapse the boxes for more space. A nice size decorative wastebasket works well for this.

Eliminating standard glass, plastic and steel recyclables, plus all that paper from your trash, will probably reduce your amount of trash by at least half.

Beware newbies, I have to admit that, as a fanatic, I do freak out when I see that unforgivable offense: contaminating a recycling bin with other trash. A little awareness goes a long way. It doesn’t take much to have a recycling mindset.

Lori Postak is an organizer at heart who is passionate about all types of conservation and buying local.  She has lived in the Heights for many years with her husband and three children.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 10:41 AM, 12.20.2008