General chatter - Does Anyone Recycle?

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09-12-2007, 02:02 PM
I am trying to get organized and recycling is on the top of my list. But...I am lost! Some tips would be nice.

Thank you in advance!

09-12-2007, 02:11 PM
Yes. :)

One of the first things you can do, is see if your town/city has a recycling truck that comes around, just like a regular garbage man. If not, then check your yellow pages and see where the local recycling facility is, their hours, when you can drop off, etc.

Also, I would like to add that it isn't just about paper, pop cans, etc. and the obvious things.

**Wal-Mart has a bin in the front of their stores for their plastic shopping bags. You can also reuse them for other things, such as bathroom trash bags, you can use them as the "pooper scooper" bags when you walk your dog, and so on.

**Another thing you can do is give things away to Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. rather than just throwing it away-especially if it is something decent (maybe that you just don't want...) that someone else can use. It is another form of recycling. :)

**Recyle electronic equipment, such as cell phones. Most Best Buy stores, and similar places, have bins that you can put them in at the entrance of their stores.

**Look up Freecycle online. It is an online community where you can post something that you want to get rid of, and people are more than willing to come and pick it up-and take it off your hands. :)

09-12-2007, 02:23 PM
Our municipality collects paper, cardboard, cans, plastics and glass. The Liquor Control Board collects their own bottles.

In places that don't do this, there's often a fellow who will pay you for cans etc. Worth looking into maybe. Newspapers? yellow pages? trade papers?

09-12-2007, 02:36 PM
Our municipality collects paper, cardboard, cans, plastics and glass. The Liquor Control Board collects their own bottles.

In places that don't do this, there's often a fellow who will pay you for cans etc. Worth looking into maybe. Newspapers? yellow pages? trade papers?

Same here...we MUST recycle. :)

09-12-2007, 02:39 PM
In an archaeology class I learned that somewhere close to 90% of all material in landfills is paper. Material in landfills doesn't break down because it's oxygen deprived, old landfill sites from the 50's have actually been dug up and the newspapers deposited there fifty years ago are still legible, they're so well preserved. So I am fanatical about recycling, especially paper. I have a separate garbage can for plastic, glass, and metal (we don't have to sort in my municipality), and I have a drawer that I put recyclable paper in. I transfer the paper into a cardboard box or paper bags on pickup day. I also save all my grocery bags and reuse them or take them to the grocery store that has a recycle bin.

09-12-2007, 02:39 PM
I recycle a lot I have a box for cans and glass, and one for paper and one for plastic, etc.. its easy once you get in the habbit, our community has a truck that comes, and theres also bins near our shopping center to drop off at. Good for you for wanting to do something good for the environment, every little bit we do helps.:D

09-12-2007, 02:42 PM
WOW I work for Recycling!!! Whatever city you live in call the ciry number and they should beable to tell you everything you need to know.

09-12-2007, 02:42 PM
There's a larger center near here that restricts garbage pick-up to two bags a week. Kind of a kick in the behind to recycle.

09-12-2007, 02:45 PM
Yes. :)

**Wal-Mart has a bin in the front of their stores for their plastic shopping bags. You can also reuse them for other things, such as bathroom trash bags, you can use them as the "pooper scooper" bags when you walk your dog, and so on.

Stop and Shop stores do this too. :carrot:

09-12-2007, 02:48 PM
Freecycle is GREAT -- there are def people who want anything you're throwing out, from old sofas to awnings, keeps them out of the landfill!

Also in my town they have periodic days where you can bring old electronics. Doesn't everyone have at least one old VHS player or something, taking up valuable real estate in your house? Ours is at a community college at the end of the month, it's really bad to throw computer stuff in the landfills - lead and other poisons will eventually find their way into the soil and groundwater.

Suzanne 3FC
09-12-2007, 02:49 PM
Always check the recycling logo on the bottom of your plastic food containers, then find out if your local recycling center takes it. I've also started buying only packaging that I know my local recycling center will take. For example, our center only takes PET 1, but many foods come in 2-5. If I can, I'll choose glass, then I rinse and take straight out to the recycling bin when it's empty.

If I have to choose a non-recyclable container, for example yogurt cartons are not accepted in my area, then I try to get a lot of use out of them before I toss them by using them to store leftovers.

Every piece of cardboard, even thin types, get flattened and recycled. It's amazing how how much more space there is in my trash can without any type of box in it. I read the news online, so I don't have to worry about newspapers. But I get a lot of junk mail and I'm trying hard to get off of various mailing lists. In the meantime, I recycle.

I also think twice now about everything I put in the trash can and ask myself if it really needs to be in a landfill. I've started donating things to the Salvation Army thrift store. I also stopped throwing away broken electronic items, since learning that those can be sent for recycling, and anything damaging is disposed of in a safer way. Our local city takes those types of items a couple of times a year, so I stash them in the attic until their time comes.

I really need to get a compost bin, so I can dispose of fruit and veggie trimmings, and lawn trimmings in a better way than putting them in a landfill, too.

I have a box in my hall closet where I put dead batteries that are not rechargeable, and I plan to take them for recycling. I'm pretty sure Radio Shack collects them.

Old clothing is also recyclable.

09-12-2007, 02:51 PM
My town doesn't collect cardboard, so when I moved I had to get a permit at the dump to recylce it. I now take most of my stuff there, including all paper and cardboard, which leaves me with very little actual trash.

The other cool thing is that the dump actually has a book swap that is open on the weekend and you can drop off books and take a few for free.

09-12-2007, 03:04 PM
There are tons and tons of things that can be donated-childrens books to local health departments and doctors office waiting rooms, for the children waiting in the lobby to play with, or to pediatric wards in hospitals.

You can take samples from the mail, or unused toiletries, etc. from hotel stays (the little shampoos, etc.) and donate them to pediatric wards in the hospitals (to give the parents something to clean up with if they are staying with their ill child, etc.) or to women's shelters-because a lot of women have to leave their homes with just the clothing on their backs.

Another thing for those worried about landfills-there is a fabric softener dryer sheet called EcoSelect, and they are not any more expensive than regular brands-but they break down so that they don't end up in landfills. Every little bit counts-I use these. They sell them at Wal-Mart.

(It's off topic of recycling...but I also choose to use laundry soaps that are vegetable based, instead of petroleum based. Arm & Hammer Essentials, and seventh Generation are two brands that I use instead of traditional petroleum based detergents.)

09-12-2007, 03:19 PM
When I first moved to my small town about 20 months ago, there was NO recycling. Since then, the city (at the citizens' requests) changed to another disposal company that now has recycle dumpsters at the post office every Saturday. It accepts paper, plastic, aluminum and etc. and also has a hazardous waste disposal area.

If you're in a small town far from other municipal areas, it may be hard to get recycling in your area. Petitions work, as do attendance at municipal government meetings. The citizens responsible for initiating the change of contracts started having 50-100 people present at meetings (which is a lot with a pop. less than 6,500) months before the proposed contracts were reviewed. Get people involved and you can do anything - although it may take a while!

09-12-2007, 03:19 PM
Don't forget your local schools, preschools, etc. They always need magazines, egg cartons, clean meat packages (those styrofoam ones) cleaned well are great for kid's painting, pie tins, paper towel/toilet paper rolls, old t-shirts for painting smocks, etc.

09-12-2007, 05:14 PM
Our Humane Society takes old towels and blankets to soften cages and make things homier.
Check farmers markets for locals who might take your egg cartons and shopping bags. Second hand clothing stores sometimes take bags too.

09-12-2007, 05:51 PM
In my part of Nova Scotia we recycle within an inch of our lives -- we even have "recycling police" . . . :lol:

We have to separate, into different blue bags; empty (and cleaned) food containers from newspaper and boxboard. There are long lists of what belongs in each bag.

Each home was issued a numbered compost container and all food waste must be put out in that.

We are allowed only one green/black garbage back per pickup (and we only get pickup every other week). Anything that doesn't go into one of the three recycle streams and doesn't fit into your one allowable opaque bag must be put out in clear bags so it can be inspected.

Anything they don't 'like' gets left behind with a sticker saying it must be resorted and repackaged for a subsequent pickup.

It does work -- Nova Scotia has the best recycling records in the Country (apparently) but OMG, you need a degree in Garbology to live here. :dizzy:

09-12-2007, 06:03 PM
Composting is a whole nother ball game. I love that! There's no chemicals in my garden.

09-12-2007, 06:19 PM
I have often wondered how to start doing composting. The only thing I really know how to do is to use my old coffee grounds... :lol:

Any tips on recycling scraps into compost would be wonderful! I don't know where to start...

09-12-2007, 06:32 PM
We recycle everything we can! We give our cans to church for the youth group...the kids just love it when I am drinking my beer in cans ;)

We set out newspapers, all junk mail, paper, cardboard bottles, plastcs and cans out on the curb in bins. We put all our garden and yard waste in a trash can which is then turned into compost/mulch, which we can go get all we want for free.

I just wish there was an easy way to recycle water...we run so much down the drain!

09-12-2007, 06:41 PM
Here are my suggestions (although many have already been mentioned by other posters):

1. Call your city and see what they already sponsor for recycling. My city does mixed recycling, so I can put glass, plastic, and paper/cardboard all into one container. Since recycling is already paid for by the city fees you pay, the more you recycle the less garbage you have (which might result in using a smaller trash bin and save you money that way).

2. Batteries are recyclable at libraries or many electronic stores.

3. I use my plastic bags from stores as trash liners in a small garbage can, saving money on large plastic garbage bags and reusing the ones I already have. Whenever I'm in a store buying just one or two items, I tell them before they bag it that I don't need a bag and just stick it in my purse or carry it. I use cloth bags at the grocery store.

4. I purchase products with as little packaging as possible. I deliberately do NOT buy bottled water (a Brita filter on tap water works for me).

5. I reuse "one-use containers" like cottage cheese containers as things to bring food in to work (just don't use them in the microwave).

6. Send a letter to the Direct Marketing Association (they probably also have an online form), that will cut down the amount of marketing mail you receive. I also call individual companies and request to be removed from their mailing lists.

7. If you live on a semi-busy street, putting old furniture at the curb with a big FREE sign on it is a great way to get things out of the way! Otherwise, freecycle and craigslist offer online classifieds for selling or giving away things.

8. I read all news online, and the presence of the web makes magazines seem mostly redundant. If I have a hankering to read a particular magazine, I go to the library and read it there. If I end up with a magazine in my possession, I drop it off at the gym, doctor's office, or other waiting room for others to enjoy instead of putting it in the recycling.

09-12-2007, 06:54 PM
I have often wondered how to start doing composting. The only thing I really know how to do is to use my old coffee grounds... :lol:

Any tips on recycling scraps into compost would be wonderful! I don't know where to start...

It can be really simple - just choose a designated area of your garden/yard and start throwing your vegetable-based scraps there (avoid egg shells and animal products, as they will attract foxes, raccoons, etc). A container or chicken-wire will make it look a little neater. You can buy a container that will help it decompose faster, often offered at a discount through your city recycling program. The basic idea is a good mix of "brown" (leaves, branches, dry stuff) and "green" (grass clippings, vegetable scraps) for nitrogen and carbon, use one part green to two parts brown. Keep it moist, but not drenched or dry, and turn it with a pitchfork once a week.

I just wish there was an easy way to recycle water...we run so much down the drain!

Gary, if you garden, you can get those rain catchers and water your plants with rainwater instead of tap water. I think the best way to "recycle" water is to use less to begin with - low-flow shower heads, turning off the water while sudsing in the shower or brushing teeth, etc.

09-12-2007, 07:38 PM
Gary - there are grey water recycling systems for areas where water use/availability is limited, or where a house is on septic and doesn't want to use too much. They are fairly expensive to set up though, especially when a house is on an urban sewer system and in comparison to that. I agree with phantastica - the best solution for now is to use as little as you can. If you've ever lived with a pump-out septic system you get good at conserving water since it costs you every time the "honey wagon" comes.

You can also get composting toilets - but they're expensive and lots of people don't want to go that far. Some use no water, some use very little.

aphil - we compost our vegetable waste and mix it with leaves/grass etc. I remember when we lived in England our compost pile would grow awesome potatoes from the peelings we put in it! If you want to use it on the garden try not to put in weeds - especially with seed heads. We mix it into the vegetable garden in the fall before the snow.

We recycle whatever we can, and now that we live only 40km from a large centre, what we can is much more than previously. I also try to avoid buying things in small single use containers. My kids take yoghurt and applesauce to school in small reusable tubs (taken from larger ones), similarly they have reusable juice/water bottles for their lunches. We do buy bottled water since we can't drink the municipal water here (tastes too salty) but we buy the RO treated water in 5-gal bottles, not small bottles, and reuse the bottles.

BTW - I remember living in Yellowknife and the dump there was awesome. Lots of scavenging, lots of reuse areas. My kids potty came from the dump. Many things didn't stay there for long - sometimes people would come and check out your truck if you arrived with stuff. On the flip side, they baled and buried "recylables" since there was no market for shipping them south for reprocessing. They were kept separate but I doubt they will ever be dug up and truly recycled. :( It seemed almost dishonest to have the bins for them but then to bury the stuff anyhow.

Interesting stuff,

09-12-2007, 08:20 PM
I lucked into a few bails of straw. I let my lettuces grow quite tall, pulled them up and laid them down. When they thoroughly wilt, I'll cover them with straw for the winter. In the spring I'll have nice rich soil under a mulch of straw.
Most of that method is stolen from Ruth Stout's book and articles.

09-13-2007, 12:47 PM
Number one top tip is to stop using plastic grocery sacks and purchase the reusable cloth kind. Most shops here in England sell them for pretty cheap. Just buy one or two at a time if you can't afford any more than that. They hold more product and are stronger so won't go ripping when you lift the tin cans from the boot of the car! I've got 7 good sized ones and 2 smaller hessian ones and that is sufficient to bring home groceries for a family of 4 plus all my childminded kids. You won't regret it. I even take them with me when I go shopping for other things, like clothes and what-not. Still get some strange looks at the department stores when I request no bag but hopefully, it'll catch on!

Now that I'm proficient at recycling and composting, I tend to set out more pink recycle sacks than I do the black rubbish ones. Ugh, even if I have to still transport glass to a local receptacle. I think they're gonna start allowing for glass pick ups soon, though, thankfully!

09-14-2007, 03:35 PM
WOW! THANK YOU everyone for all the tips! I really appreciate it.

I've been donating clothes and such to the Salvation Army & Goodwill for years.

Never thought to recycle the plastic grocery bags but I like the idea of buying reusuable bags better...I think our local grocery store has them, not sure if Wal-Mart does or not...I will be checking though.

We do have the rechargeable batteries. We put in a well to water the yard and garden areas. Wish it was worth using on other stuff. Trying to think what else so far...I did get some bins to put things in and I am feeling pretty good about doing this. :)

Thanks again everyone! :thanks:

09-14-2007, 08:36 PM
Thanks JAXJOB but we aren't on septic.

09-14-2007, 10:22 PM
Gary - I didn't figure you were, since you'd be awesome at water conservation if you are! ;) That's usually the motivation for more water recycling. I only know about this stuff because we were at one time looking into unserviced acreage when we lived up north. Usually if you're connected to town water and sewer, there's less incentive. You can do all these things in town, but it's usually prohibitively expensive.

That said, recycling or using less is always good - yes! :yes:


09-14-2007, 10:38 PM
I agree JAXJOB!

09-18-2007, 03:22 PM
I bought a couple of those shopping bags yesterday and took them on my errands this morning. It felt pretty good to say ... no bag thanks, I'll use this.

09-18-2007, 03:40 PM
Since I'm in college, it tends to be easier to recycle. In our bathroom we have a paper recycling box where we can put our paper towels (since there is no air hand dryer >.<). We also have different boxes for plastic bottles, glass bottles, and cans. I just wish we had an on-campus garden so we could use food scraps for compost! With all the tea I have to throw out, it would do some good in someone's yard. I just have no way to store it/transport it.

09-19-2007, 04:03 AM
I bought a couple of those shopping bags yesterday and took them on my errands this morning. It felt pretty good to say ... no bag thanks, I'll use this.
It is a great feeling, isn't it?! Are they available in most grocery stores in The States? I keep meaning to ask my sister and keep forgetting. Seems like it's just taken off in the last year over here. Before that, I'd reuse my old plastic ones and got some really weird looks when I'd toss a big wad of wrinkled up grocery bags on the conveyor, lol.

09-19-2007, 09:18 AM
I had in mind that I would look for some bags that supported something local ... the Ag society or something, but I found these in a grocer and thought they'd be fine.

I may still talk to the Ag society. Selling bags with their logo on would be a worthwhile fundraiser, I think.

09-23-2007, 09:02 PM
I recycle for money. Also known as buybacks. I even have my friend save her stuff so I can go recycle it. I keep the bottles and cans and basically anything with the recycling logo on it. I have a savings and everytime I recycle I am throwing the money in there. I had to use all of it, unfortunately, but I am getting back into saving the money because I have a trip to save up for as well :)