Generation

When Jessica was home for a while earlier this year, she got us – well, Andrew and me – started on recycling.  Up until that point, in my 54+ years, I had never recycled anything.  We have a trash service, Andrew puts our trash out in their massive can and wheels it to the street on Monday, and every Tuesday, for a small monthly fee, Raintree Disposal hauls it all away.  But Jessica wanted to recycle some stuff, so we humored her.  We had some paper bags in the pantry that we’d toss stuff into, and then every so often, she and Andrew would take it to the recycle center.  I had never even been to the recycle center.

Jessica went back to Asia in March, and Andrew and I maintained the habit.  We graduated to a Sam’s club box for cardboard, but still used our Harter House paper bags for plastic and cans.  Every Wednesday, before loading the Durango’s trunk with groceries at Wal-Mart, we’d take our box and two bags to the recycle center and dump them in the self-service bins.  But one Wednesday morning, the recycle guy told me that we weren’t supposed to use the self-service bins except when we came after hours, hours being 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM, because they just had to dump those bins and that made more work for them.  He asked me to please bring my stuff over to the building and hand it to them.  Which I did the next week, and the next, each time asking for my box and bags back.

After a few weeks of that, one of the recycle folks asked if I’d like containers.  Now that was a concept!  They gave me three white, plastic, lidless, knock-together, basket-ish boxes that fit perfectly under the stairs in the pantry.  We did that for a time, but Scott didn’t like them in the pantry, so they have been moved to the playroom.  Now, all I have to do is have Andrew load the containers into the Durango, hand them to the recycle folks, and ask for them back.  Works like a charm.

But here’s the thing that totally blows my mind.  We are a family  household of THREE, and yet we generate an truly impressive amount of trash!  Not much glass, and metal varies widely depending on how aggressively I’m cooking (white chili, regular chili, salsa, and spaghetti sauce yield many, many cans; wish I had a Zans), but our plastic and cardboard accumulations are quite astounding.  Slashed and smashed as fully as possible by modern, automatic equipment (my hands + a box cutter), we generally yield about 1.5 cubic feet each of plastic and cardboard per week!

Some fifteen years ago, when online ordering was becoming more popular, I told Scott (and I think he thought I was joking), “You know, we really ought to invest in cardboard.  I think companies that make cardboard are going to be making a killing.”  We did not, and I’m now quite sure they are.  I cut up at least one box a day, but while we’re not gaining any money from our waste, at least we can, as they say in Go, Dog. Go! make it “go around again!”

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