The concept of recycling, while super beneficial to society, appears to be entirely too complex to apply. How else to explain the number of times I have, (patiently, I believe, though he might argue), had to explain the nuances of what gets recycled to my otherwise amazingly brilliant husband.
Admittedly, it can get confusing. Some plastic is okay while some is not. Cardboard might look fine, but any waxy stuff on it and there is nooooo way it can go in the bin. I understand that it is enough to make a grown person call it quits and simply throw anything and everything into recycling (seriously… tin foil???)
In the olden days, when life was simple, we just had reuse, repurpose, or refuge. Canning jars got reused. Old t-shirts were repurposed as cleaning cloths. Horse manure made great compost. And broken wooden toys got throw in the fireplace. With progress, though, came the ability to create stuff so durable that it could outlast everything but a two year old. What to do with that two foot synthetic stuffed animal that no longer had eyes or an arm? Throw it away, of course.
Except…. Imagine a dump filled with odd assortments of items a two year old has destroyed. It would not be a pretty site. In fact, it would probably be the stuff horror stories are based on. Magnified by our use of synthetic material on everything and that dump has gotten out of control.
I’d like to think I try to make a difference. But in fact, I am as much a part of the problem as anyone. The water bottles alone that I dump each year could probably fill my backyard. And though for a while I tried to use a reusable water bottle, the hassle factor eventually wore me down so that I continue to use and toss as I had been doing.
But while I continue to strive to be better at using less and recycling more, the real problem I am fighting is figuring out which stuff can go in which bin. Organizing, in general, is sort of an obsession with me. So, you can see where this issue would both peak my interest as well as overwhelm me. It would be like giving me something that looks and acts like Tupperware, but then telling me I can’t store it with my other containers. The complexity of organizing would be unmanageable.
So I understand where my husband struggles, really I do. If I could, I would live my life in my favorite store, New Seasons. There they have simplified the process of throwing things away. Pictures to tell me what goes where, canisters for each thing, limited choice of containers to only those that go into one of the bins they make available and pictures they show: this is how I would like to live my life.
I suppose the moral of the story is that more choice isn’t necessarily always a good thing. It would be fine if all of that waste didn’t add up to an earth overcome with garbage; but it does. So although I refuse to put pictures of all of our different types of garbage on my refuse and recycling bins, I do think it is time to simplify the challenge. If it is too difficult to decide where to throw the empty ice cream container, well then I suppose I will have to stop buying ice cream for the family.
And then, we’ll see how long it takes my otherwise perfect hubby to catch on to the fact that frozen containers don’t go in recycling.
Where are you on the spectrum of recycling? Do you have a good way to remember what goes where? I love, love, love to hear your comments, so please leave me some. No, really! And to prove how much I love hearing from you (and I know you are out there, because I get statistics on how many people visit this fun blog:>) I will donate $10 to the charity of choice for one lucky commenter in the month of November. Simply leave a comment and then check back at the end of the moth to see if you won.