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.