R is for Recycling

When we were away this past summer, we had our mail held. And I swear that my favorite item that I saw once we retrieved it was a flier from the city of Albany about its new recycling policy. No longer did the city only take plastic items with the #1 or #2 in the triangle; it’s now taking #1-7!

This was hugely important for us, as we are very active recyclers. So those yogurt and cottage cheese containers, which tend to be #5 or #6, we just hated to throw out. My wife would sometimes put leftovers in them, but unless they were well-labeled, I’d mistake them for their original packaging info until it was too late. Some were saved for school arts and crafts, but there are just so many craft projects one can do. It cost the city tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade the system, according to the newspaper story at the time, but for alleviating my guilt at throwing away a yogurt cup, it was worth every penny.

I hate going to the returnable center at the local supermarket. A lot of recyclable, but not returnable, items that people bring end up in the trash. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of people around here just don’t spend the few minutes to separate out the recyclables and it makes me…peevish.

One element of the new city regulations that I ignore is the “Single Stream Curbside Recycling Collection”. I still segregate my paper products from the bottles and cans because of the bottle entrepreneurs who rifle through the recycling bins. I figure when they open up the green bin and see that’s it’s all paper and cardboard, they’ll leave it alone, and only go through the blue bin that has the recyclable – but not returnable – bottles and cans.


ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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39 thoughts on “R is for Recycling

  1. The number system sounds like a good idea. We have a large bin for plastic and glass recycling, but the directions as to what is and isn’t acceptable is vague. The genral rule for plastic is that it is okay as long as it is bottle-shaped!

    We now have four wheelie bins and a complicated pick-up timetable. Green for foodstuff and garden waste, black for non-recyclable, blue for paper and cardboard and brown for plastic, glass and cans.

    Other items have to be taken to the recycling centre which has an array of collection points, including fabrics, shoes, small electrical goods, refrigerators, oil, fluorescent tube, car batteries and rubble.

    Our local authority claims a recycling rate of around 70%, so I suppose it is all worthwhile.

  2. On the whole, I think that recycling has been a botched enterprise; a combination of consumer environmental guilt and economic and landfill realities have forced localities, municipalities, and states to enact recycling programs, but they really don’t want to do it. It’s inconvenient, products are rarely designed for efficient recycling (just how many types of plastic do we really need to package our groceries? but noooo, don’t regulate producers! that’s socialism! I’ve been recycling since the 1970’s, and the governments still make it an absurdly cumbersome affair.

  3. In my area of the UK we have separate bins for recycling various rubbish types. Only problem is, because of the downturn, no one buys it from the local authority so it ends up dumped still.

  4. We burn everything that burns, and send the rest to the garbage. The pop cans and bottles have a 5 cents deposit on them, so they go back to the store, where I get my 5 cents back.

  5. Great post. It is so important but so many cities are still not equipped to handle the various types of plastics and paper. NYC certainly isn’t and we need it desperately!

  6. Over here in the UK in Shropshire (I think it varies around the country) we have two large bins – one for general rubbish and one for garden refuse- collected every other week – and 3 small bins for paper – glass – and plastic and tins – yog pots etc have to go to the main recycling depot or supermarket bins – we were allowed to put cardboard in with the garden refuse – but that has changed this month and that must now be taken to the main depot or go in with the household rubbish – have a good week jane UK

  7. Our city just delivered new bins to all the residences, we can recycle just about everything! Now we have 3 different bins and it makes sorting so much easier…just toss it in the correct bin!

  8. I remember when we first moved back here, we have so many card board boxes that we put out during the recycle day but the city employees did not pick it up. They want us to cut the card board boxes into small pieces, whew. We ended up throwing it in the city’s dump site as there so many of them that we just don’t have time to cut it all. We s6till segregate every cans, bottles, and other stuff. Very nice post Roger.

  9. Where we used to live we had the separate bins for paper, cans and glass. When we moved it was so difficult to get used to putting everything into one large bin and another large bin for green waste.
    I felt so guilty. I found out that the city separates everything at their facility and it does get recycled.
    We do save all our cans for our own recycling and can get at least $30.00 every few months. that goes into a special fund. Hey why not? Its an easy savings plan.

  10. I somehow feel the need to separate recyclable too, though most of it goes into the bluebox. It’s those ridiculous plastics that insist on blowing down the road it they aren’t properly contained. They all go into a clear container with a snap-on lid.

    I am recycling today’s earlier blog for ABC Wednesday. I figured I should do my part. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. There’s a recycle bin at the foot of the apartment I stay in and it makes it convenience for us, plus weekly there’s a collection from our door step. Just need to leave our recyclable in a bag provided and someone will take them away and leave a bag for the next week collection.

  12. My husband is the recycler in our house and he makes me crazy. I bought him a multi-doored cabinet for sorting, but it got full of other things, as cabinets are wont to do. Now the recycling piles up in the den until he can’t get through there to his office, and I can’t get through to the laundry room. Then he bags and boxes it all up and takes it to the back door. Unfortunately, in this funny old house, the back door is in the living room. I’ve almost given up telling him “this isn’t progress, putting the recycling in the living room” โ€” now I only say it if something clinks, clanks or crunches when I recline my chair. Sigh.
    Any recycling is better than none at all, I tell myself, thinking of all the years when we were throwing out the same things we’re now able to recycle.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittieโ€™s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  13. Oh I do like a detailed list. It varies greatly from area to are what happens in the UK Here we have separate bins/containers for doorstep recycling but also general bins at various points through district where everything goes in together and gets mechanically sorted. The local paper mill uses recycled paper for their toilet rolls.

  14. Funny how a kind of guilt develops over time when throwing a glass jar or plastic bottle into the regular garbage. I think attitudes are changing โ€ฆ here in BC items that once needed separating can now be tossed in the same blue box, which is great. Now if only we could create plastic bags that dissolve harmless into the environment.

  15. That would be exciting news! I too, am a long time recycler and have been using my own grocery bags for over 20 years now.
    Japan has more than 40 categories. They even recycle lipstick cases.
    We can put a man on the moon, machines on Mars, but we can’t get more than 7 categories to recycle! Such is progress…

  16. Good choice for R. We do a lot of recycling here too; and I too get irritated with people who igonore the rules and leave things in the wrong places. But also sometimes with the ‘authorities’ when they don’t empty the containers often enough (because that means people will leave things outside them).

  17. A Reasonable Rant, Roger! We are Recyclers in our home, too, with six bins: organic, paper, metals, glass, plastic and rest. But other than those for which professional Recyclers will pay, I’m not so sure where the others go here in Manila. The Recycling system is still in its infant stage. I’d not Realized the number system for plastic was in use, so that I learned today (it’s not yet (?) used here).

  18. An excellent choice for R – I’m all for recycling too. NZ has a great recycling system – kerbside pick up just outside your house. Glass and everything else are collected on alternate fortnights here (as in my council) and bins/bags are provided by the council. Amazing how much you can recycle and how it limits your garbage. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  19. Recycling varies according to the local authority in UK. Ours isn’t too bad but won’t accept glass so we have to take that to a recycling bank. Others accept everything.

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