My favorite of the 4 “Rs” is recycling. And my county makes it so wonderfully easy! Single-family homeowners in the Urban Services District (USD) of Davidson County were provided with home recycling carts a few years ago. Once a month, a recycling pick-up comes through and empties our cart. There are also several recycling centers around the county that will take items including the ones I can’t put in my cart (like glass). Plus, a couple of months ago we were starting to fill our recycling cart to overflowing, and simple e-mail to the county got us an additional cart that was dropped off at the next pick-up date. Metro Public Works has an extensive recycling program that includes bulk item pick-up, brush collection, and even classes about and containers for composting!
Many of the grocery stores have bins to collect plastic and paper bags. I noticed that my local Publix also has a bin for collecting egg cartons which is helpful since I can’t put styrofoam in my recycling cart.
Recycling is one of the best and easiest ways to get the entire family involved in taking care of the earth. Our kids know that we have two waste receptacles in the kitchen, one for trash and one for recyclables. JBelle pretty much knows what can go in the recycle can without being told and The GMan is happy to put something in the recycle bin (or the trash can for that matter!) when asked. JBelle’s school is also very much into recycling. It offers a recycling drop-off on the weekends (and encourages students and their families to participate) and during the lunch hours, composting and recycling bins are available to the students when they bus their tables.
I, mistakenly, thought that recycling would be a big hassle so I resisted doing much of it over the years even though we had that handy-dandy cart provided to us. I’d occasionally break down cardboard boxes and toss soda cans into it but I rarely remembered to pull it out to the curb for the monthly pick-up. When we decided to get serious about this environmental stewardship mentality, I was surprised and delighted to find that it was quite easy to start setting aside items that could be recycled, especially since there were so many that could be put in our cart. There are times when I begrudge have to rinse some containers out but just seeing the way we’ve reduced the amount of trash that goes to our weekly pick-up encourages me to keep it up!