Sometimes I feel like my effort to be a good recycling and sorting citizen owns me.
I have been recycling for about 53 years. My first foray was that I had to drive about 10 miles to drop off my small amount of single woman recycling maybe once a month. Fast forward to the last few months.
We have no less than 9 receptacles for what we don’t re-use, not counting our green bins (2 large) for yard waste, boxes or bags of things I save to take to places like Goodwill, Humane Society, etc.
Here’s what we’ve got:
2 dry compost baskets for flower snippings, dirty compostable paper and the like, one in the kitchen and one in our bathroom cuz I always have bouquets from my garden in our bedroom and bath (this all goes in the green bin);
One small compost bin we dump about twice a week (also goes into green bin);
A basket for the recyclable plastic our waste recovery company is willing to pick up;
A small bin for bottles, aluminum foil and the occasional can (lots of cans when we have cats);
A bin with a paper shopping bag for clean paper;
A bin for our once-a-week kitchen-sized bag of landfill;
A bag of recyclable plastic bags and shipping envelopes hanging in the laundry room which we drop off at Sprouts grocery occasionally (it’s next door to Staples and a Starbucks so that’s helpful);
And last but not least, a rather decorative large rectangular basket with handles and a lid which I recently bought for the recycling our recovery guys won’t take, but a Bay Area wide company called Recology will take. That would be 1, 2, 4 & 5 plastics such as clamshell & take out containers plus tea, milk and broth cartons that are recyclable; our local place doesn’t take any of those. That one is dominating part of our kitchen floor and has to be moved to open a particular low drawer, cuz there’s no place else to put it. I run into it with a foot or shin about once a week.
I drive to Recology in Novato, about 15-20 min away, once every 3-4 weeks and drop that last stuff off.
Oh, did I mention I have a mostly paralyzed leg that is atrophied and two inches shorter than the other one? Just so you have some perspective on the extra effort all these receptacles represent, not that I’m looking for sympathy. I’m not. I’m looking to shame our waste recovery service into expanding what they take.
I get it that our local company is large, has expensive equipment, pays high property taxes, has a big staff and pays high workers’ comp for dangerous tasks, health insurance, and probably is matching retirement funds and giving bonuses, plus the owners want to retire comfortably and/or pass the business on to their heirs or sell it at a profit; it’s their life’s work. Same family has owned for at least 30-40 years and they try to be efficient. This is why they don’t take everything other places take; it is more work to sort it. But Jeez.
This is also why (and this is unrelated, except for psychologically and emotionally) when my detail gardener (who actually does limited detail work) suggested I start a compost pile, put all our leaves into it, and get some water recapturing tanks, I had difficulty calmly saying, “Good idea, but we’re not going to do that. Thanks for the suggestion.”
I’m about as good as I’m gonna get, Folks.