Friday, May 6, 2011

What and how I recycle (August 31, 2007)

Current mood:hopeful

Each week, I put a single very light, very empty looking bag out for the trash. Most of its weight is cat litter. Here is what is NOT in it:

Aluminum and steel cans and glass bottles go out in the blue recycle bin, to be picked up by the recycle truck.

Plastic bottles of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 type plastic, also go in the recycle bin.

Newspapers I could put in the recycle bin, but do not. Instead, I gather all office paper, newspaper, and pure paperboard items like cereal boxes, place this in brown paper grocery bags, and take them to the green-and-yellow Abitibi paper recycling dumpsters that are all over the place. Nearly every school and library has one, as do many churches.

Vegetable matter, including coffee grounds, I gather in an old Cool Whip tub, and every couple of days, take it down to the garden, where I bury it. If I had a composting bin, I would use it.

Meat trimmings, bacon drippings, etc., I gather after each meal in a used but usable Ziploc bag, and place in the freezer. This will go in the regular weekly trash when I take it out, but will be odorless.

Of significance is what else does NOT go in the trash. Most of these can be recycled only in special places at limited opportunities,
* Compact fluorescent bulbs. These contain mercury and MUST be recycled properly. Currently I am gathering these in a small box, and keeping my eye open for where to take them. This site shows no facility near Pittsburgh.
* Alkaline dry-cell batteries. I put them all in a box, actually two boxes, one for the ubiquitous AA size, one for everything else. The Sierra Club is one organization that can get rid of them properly.
* Cardboard. I pull off as much tape and other decoration as possible, bust up the boxes, and every once in a while take the pile to a cardboard-only dumpster.
* Raw metal, such as steel, copper and aluminum, brings a good price at a scrapyard. I gather these in one corner of the basement, and once or twice a year, call someone to come get it.
* Styrofoam egg cartons and meat trays. Less that I recycle them, more that I stockpile these for some art project that comes around from time to time. If I had a good way to recycle them, I would. [Update, 2001: I can now also put styrene (#6 plastic) in the recycle bin.]

Well, that's a start. I will add to this as I think of some of the lesser items, of which there are many.

I did not at all cover how I don't generate much trash in the first place. OK I will: I don't shop much, I repair rather than pitch, I only buy stuff that lasts, and if something outlives my need for it I give it away via Pittsburgh Freecyle and The Freecycle Network.

If everyone else did what I do, though, there would be a lot less trash generated.

* * * End original post * * *
* * * Original comments from 2007 * * *

Michele James-Parham

At IKEA you can take:
- all your compact fluorescent bulbs or any light bulbs for that matter
- batteries
- packaging from IKEA products
- and the usual cans, glass and plastics

I realize that you probably don't get to Robinson Township !regularly!, but if you are ever heading down towards the airport or know someone who is or who is headed to the shopping conglomeration that is Robinson Township (we make that jaunt about once every 6 months), you could drop off your light bulbs and batteries at IKEA.

Oh and kudos to you for helping to lighten the load on our landfills -- have you tried switching cat litter to a flushable/biodegradable variety? It would mean that you'd have to order online or shop at stores such as Target, East End Food Co-op, Whole Foods or a few others in the city and I know you only shop at a few places.

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