Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Three R's

No, not the academic R's, but the ecological R's.

Reduce.  Reuse.  Recycle.

We all know it.  A lot of us practice it.  But I have a confession to make.  Although I do try to reduce what items we buy, and reuse those items.....I am a complete failure at recycling.  (Admittedly, I'm still afraid that Susan will un-friend me after reading this.)

With the exception of aluminum cans, we don't recycle tin, glass or plastic.  Not because I don't want to, but because there aren't a lot of recycling options available to us here.  A new company popped up about a year ago that would come get your recyclables for you, but you had to pay for it in addition to our weekly garbage pick-up.  So that wasn't going to happen.

There is a scrap yard just out of town and they will take steel cans along with the aluminum, but the place is so messy that Paul refuses to take any of our vehicles in there as to avoid coming home with a flat tire.  There is also a county-run recycling center, but they weren't taking steel cans nor glass.  Basically all they took was plastic bottles and paper products.

But recently, there have been two significant changes in our waste disposal routine: The recycling center now takes tin and glass and our regular garbage company has gone out of business.  When I called around to the other waste disposal companies to continue our trash service, the price had doubled from what we were paying.  This was the perfect opportunity to start our "mandatory" recycling program here at home!

I've designated four garbage cans for recyclables; plastic, glass, steel and aluminum.  Paper/cardboard will be kept here (hopefully in neat bundles) until we do some burning brush or leaf burning.  We already have two kitchen scrap bins; one for composting, one for the chickens.  So now, the only thing that should be going into the trash bag is miscellaneous plastic wrapping and packaging.  In the last two weeks, we have generated two garbage bags (13 gallon, I think) of non-recyclable trash.  Now we have to decide what we're going to do with that.  We live in the country so burn barrels are a common sight around here and I suppose we could burn the garbage, although I'm not really fond of all that black smoke & air pollutants.  But I do often wonder which is worse for the ecology; burning the trash or burying the trash?  I'm still undecided on that.  But for now we'll just put those bags in a larger, secure trash bin and take it out to the local dump and pay per haul.

Oh wait.  Do I hear some scratch-scratch-scratching in the background?  Yeah.  I have cats.  And I have not yet trained them to use the toilet (although I really am enthralled with the idea of teaching them that trick).  So now I've got a 5-gallon plastic bucket with a snapping lid that I'm putting the litter into.  Paul is going to use the tractor to dig me a hole down in the back forty and I'll just dump the litter there and cover it up.

Whew!  I'm glad that's off my chest!  We're now on our way to a more sustainable, earth-friendly, pocket-book friendly means of disposing of our trash.


  1. Man, that blows. I feel really luck y here in the city, eben in just my neighborhood... We, as an "eco-villge" inside of the city, were chosen for the city's fledgling recycling program in that we have BIG rolling trash bins- black for trash, blue for recycling. The city even started the program so that one doesn't have to separate the recyclables, and you just roll them on out into the street.

    That being said, we need a bigger recycling bin than trash. We only put our trash out every other week, and recycling every week. Most of our trash is recyclable or goes to the chickens. Although we do keep our cans separate because we can get cash :)

    Good luck! I hope Susan doesn't leave you!

  2. We had a really great recycling program in Portland, Oregon. Boise is catching but not as green. We recycle everything, only have to drop off the glass via the car...

  3. You should read some of my earlier blogs.I can find 50 different ways to recycle something.I have one gallon tea jugs for when we move I have to fill them up with water.I keep all bigger containers for sugar and flour and cabinet stuff.I use my zip lok bags over again by washing them out.I have different size plastic coffee cans I'm going to be using for the bathroom to put salts and stuff in and Im going to paint them.Toilet paper rolls are for seeding new plants come this spring.Anythingpaper will be shredded and put in the compost bin.Since I do beadwork I use small bottles and plastic pill bottles for them.Glass stuff I get cork stoppers and reuse the bottles and jars to store stuff in.I dont spend money for storage things cause I recycle this stuff.

  4. Carolyn,we are in exactly the same boat.No recycling offered here either. Willard did have a place....then they wouldn't take certain things and it just got to be too much.
    We now put everything in our paid-for trash service. It is outrageously expensive too but I tried two years of burning and recycling and finally gave up and went back to the service.

  5. I grew up watching my parents deal with the burn dilemma and weekly dump trips. We are really fortunate here we are given a full size blue recycling can and we can put all our recyclables in there, the Recycle guys sort it at their facility! No sorting, no small buckets to deal with.

  6. No recycling for us here in the county. We do recycle our aluminum cans, the volunteer Fire Dept collects them for the new truck fund. We could burn the paper and stuff but it's just easier to let the trash service haul it off...

  7. NEVER HAPPEN! I "heart" Krazo Acres and the resident family... Besides, it's not your fault - it's the stinkin town's fault! Every last community should be able to offer its citizens a way to recycle everything that can't be reused. For free or for little. I ended up having to pay a trash hauler to come once a week to pick up my trash/recycling. Because our little transfer station only recycled two kinds of plastic. So, now, I have two honkin' big containers that contain...very little each week. But I also recycle all of my parent's stuff and one of my neighbor's, too.

  8. Our town charges $1 a bag for trash, so no one wants to pay more than they have to. The percentage of people here that recycle is pretty high. We have a city and county recycle center near by. The one takes #2 plastic but only a certain #2. My husband drives to another state once a week for work and takes the other plastics. The dogs do their part with recycling the cat poo but if it weren't for them I would have very little trash.

  9. We're lucky that our center (about 30 min away) takes everything, even phone books and magazines. The only exception is the plastic like they use in bakeries that's super thin but then again, my office recycling company takes those. I'm stuck with lids. I don't know what to do with them.