Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do you recycle?

We do in our house, or at least I thought that we did until earlier this afternoon.

photo source


Living in a highly urban area, it becomes common behavior to not pay attention as to where our trash is going. Many businesses and people here tend to not fret with concern as to how many trees are being killed with the endless amounts of wasted paper being used and that those convenient bottles that house our fresh alpine waters are going to end up in our oceans and landfills.

Chicago isn't exactly the most environmentally friendly city in the country, but it seems to be trendy now to have some concern for that which we are all leaving behind. In my house we don't recycle because it's a fad, instead I keep it as an important task to ensuring that mother earth will continue to be beautiful for generations to come. So I recycle everything. Milk jugs, junk mail, plastic toiletry containers, anything and everything. Our apartment is tiny, and we have more then overgrown our space, but I keep the area under the sink void of clutter in order to stow away our recyclable items which I later drop in a communal bin designated for my building located in my garage.

My building wasn't always on board about sorting disposables, for the first year or so there was no recycling program in place and all waste was considered garbage. If you chose to recycle, you would have to drive the items to the recycling center yourself because there was no pickup service. However, the condo association here seemed to get their act together about three years ago and put a large recycling bin in our communal garage. With the convenience of having the receptacle so close, it became second nature to be aware of what trash items go where in my home.

Today I was left speechless when I was waiting to pull in my garage when the trash man was emptying our two large trash receptacles, and then rolled the recycling bin on over and dumped it right in with the trash. Well paint me green and call me gumby, boy do I feel foolish.

Is this really a creditable program???
Has this been going on all along? Have I really been so oblivious as to know where the recyclables that I was taking so much care to dispose of appropriately were going? Apparently so.

I'm not sure if this is a common practice, but it may be more then I would suspect. So it has got me thinking as to if we all just naively sort our waste with hopes that it all ends up in the proper place, or if that is just me. This is a government funded program, shouldn't I be able to trust that these items are being taken care of appropriately?

photo source

Do you recycle? And if so how do you make sure your recyclables end up in the appropriate place?

10 comments:

  1. We have a green can and a regular trash can that are picked up on different days. I always wonder if my efforts to get everything that is recyclable into the appropriate can are for naught. But, I've decided that I'm doing my part and I hope that my city is carrying that forward!

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  2. I would be livid! I hope your condo assessment isn't going towards a separate recycling fee because that would just be icing on the cake of bad service.

    We recycle a lot of things but, like you, I always just trusted that they would end up in the appropriate place. Now I'm worried!

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  3. I wish that I recycled more but sometimes it seems so inconvenient and I don't have a lot of extra space. lame excuses I know

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  4. fortunately, our town has a great recycling program. it's a pretty earth-friendly place too (it helps that there's a large university in town that is trying to be a tier-1 research institution and green). we live in a house and have been provided with a large green bin with wheels for our trash, and a smaller blue bin for recyclables. each thursday, we just roll our bins out on the curb and our city uses two different kinds of trucks to pick up the trash and recyclables. bigger towns nearby actually don't have the kind of system we have. we definitely take advantage of this system and try to do our part to recycle.

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  5. Wow. That is one heck of an eye-opener. Worth following up on, for sure. We have a separate bin that is picked up by a separate truck on trash days...but it is easy to make assumptions and assume things that look legitimate ARE...good words!

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  6. oh my gosh, that's terrible wat u saw the garbage man doing!!

    ugh, though i'm prolly a pessimist for saying it, i'm guessing this happens a lot more than we'd like to think. is it just out of sheer laziness that the guy doesn't help with the recycling or what??

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  7. Oh no! That's terrible. I didn't recycle when I lived in my apartment but now that I own my own home, I was all over the recycling bit! So we recycle like crazy!

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  8. That's awful! I live in a green building, so they make it very easy for us to recycle. I always feel guilty if I throw a plastic bottle in trash can or somehing

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  9. I feel like a sinner throwing out ANYTHING that;s recyclable. Some cities are better than others...thinking of all the trash LV must accumulate with its tourism.

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  10. I recently moved into a Chicago condo building that has recycling, and lately I've been trying to make a conscious effort to keep my trash separate! It's so simple to do; I feel really guilty when I realize I just threw out a ton of things that could have easily been recycled. Now I'm wondering if the recycling actually ends up in the right place - I sure hope so!

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