The Surprising Thing I Learned Yesterday

You would think in this day and age that it would be very hard to learn anything that you could really call 'surprising.'  Yesterday, however, my 12 year old son came home with the stunning revelation that my neighbors don't do ANY recycling. Nothing!  This confession was made to him sometime during the day by their 11 year old son. I suppose he could have told me something more shocking, but this came as a pretty big surprise. To give my son credit, he revealed this information to me in a way that let me know he thought the whole thing was pretty scandalous.

We have a trash service that provides us with recycling bins and picks them up at the end of our driveways.  All of our neighbors use the same service and recycling pickup is part of the basic service, not an 'add-on.' Bringing the bins to the street is a little bit of a hassle, but we don't have to drive to a recycling center.

recycle bin

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a little bit of a recycling fanatic.  I am not above picking things out of the trash (although only our trash) and would rather drive an empty soda can home to be properly recycled than to drop it in a trash can and not know where it will end up.

During the course of the day, there are plenty of items to recycle. Even if your family does not drink soda or bottled water, what about the laundry soap container or the shampoo bottles? Not all families subscribe to the newspaper, but what about the inevitable junk mail?

This is not a political post by any stretch.  This is a post about resources...have you not read about the landfills? The trash barges that have been sent out to sea?

Believe me, I get that not everyone sees recycling as the priority that I do. But at some point, don't we all have a civic responsibility (not to mention a legal one in many communities) to recycle?



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Comment balloon 8 commentsHolly Weatherwax • April 14 2009 07:43AM


I know. . some people never learn. .they just throw their trash all over the place. I would knock on their door and give them tips and reasons why they should recycle.

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 9 years ago

As my dog walks me through my neighborhood on recycling day I see who puts the bins out...and I am surprised as it looks like about half the homes nearby. Don't know what the averages are but more and more folks are coming on-board!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Great post Holly!

If we all just do our part, we'll leave the world a better place for our kids.

This is a great web site to calculate your carbon footprint.....Everyone should consider checking it out and seeing where they can reduce the mark they leave behind.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 9 years ago

There's always more in my recycling can than in my garbage can.  I want to start getting better about composting.  I think my garden would look a bit healthier if I did!  Thanks for the reminder that we all need to do our part

Posted by Liz Harrison over 9 years ago

Let me preface my remarks by saying that my family does recycle. In fact, we've called our waste disposal company to get extra recycling bins, and we use them. So I'm very definitely "pro" recycling.

However . . . .

It's not always easy. Not just that--meritorious activities often aren't. But it's sometimes difficult to understand or do correctly. Would-be recyclers wonder: Do I separate the items? If so, how? Paper from aluminium...OK. But what about plastics? Do we still have to peer at the plastic containers to look for little stamps indicating whether that plastic is recyclable? If so, which ones are and which ones aren't? As for paper, there was a time when newsprint was recyclable but not glossy paper. Is that still the case? In an office environment, recycling white paper is OK, but it used to be verboten to recycle colored paper. Does that still apply?

We used to recycle our newspapers in the paper bags we'd receive from the supermarket. Now you have to make a special request to get paper bags, and often they're smaller and lighter-weight than they used to be. If we don't have an extra recycling bin, do we just put the newspapers on the ground? Can we put them in the plastic bags?

Meanwhile, those of us of a certain age (over 30, maybe) remember going to the grocery store, putting our purchases into the carts, taking them to the check-out line, and having the items rung up and put into bags. Now we go to the store, have to grab a cart from the middle of the parking lot, wheel it inside, do our shopping, do our own checkout with balky scanners, bag our own items (unless you're buying at a place like BJ's, in which case there aren't even any bags), wheel the stuff out to your car, and unload it. Then we're asked to recycle--separating used materials into ever-changing categories, and carting the whole mess down to the street.

Don't get me wrong: I do recycle, as I said above. But I can understand someone's reaction who might say: Enough's enough. I buy the stuff. I pack it up myself and cart it home. I use it. I pay for trash pickup. I gather the stuff for the trash. I've done my job.

That may be at least part of what's going on.

Posted by Diane Tepper (Renaissance Home Staging and Redesign) over 9 years ago

Quick clarification on the post above. The comment on why some people may not recycle was made not by Diane Tepper, but by her husband, Don Tepper. So, direct any barbs, critcisms (or compliments), etc., to Don, not Diane. Thanks. --Don

Posted by Diane Tepper (Renaissance Home Staging and Redesign) over 9 years ago

You are right, Diane, we are asked to do a lot more these days. It can definitely be overwhelming. 

We just got a new recycling 'trash can.' It is on wheels, just like my regular trash can, and we were instructed to just throw all of the recycling 'in together.' I hope this catches on--it will make it easier for everyone!

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 9 years ago

Thanks for the clarification, Don. Please allow my above comments to stand corrected, too--although no barbs were included :)

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) over 9 years ago

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