Sunday, April 13, 2008

What 120 lbs. Looks Like

In a previous post, I talked about the challenges of recycling in a rural area.  Luckily we have a trash compactor that I've turned into a "recycling only" bin.  What you see below is about 2 months worth of tin, aluminum, and plastics.  The glass is collected in a different bin for obvious reasons.  The only downside to this system is that I have to sort it when it's time for a recycling center run.  It doesn't look like much, but it takes about an hour from start to finish. Our recycling center requires that plastics be separated into #1's and #2's.  


I'll admit I'm a little embarrassed at the number of water bottles.  We try very hard not to use bottled water as is it makes no sense at all.  There are times, however, when we are thirsty on our travels and water is better for us than soda.  Thus, the water bottles.  The thing about #1 plastic that makes me shake my head is that the bins that organic greens come in is not recyclable.  It is usually packed in a #5 or #7 container.  Ironic, huh?

Number 2 plastics are opaque.  We drink lots and lots of milk at our house, sometimes four gallons a week.  They guy at the recycling center needed to be convinced that other colors of plastic are often #2s as well.  He was just tossing the coffee containers and the laundry detergent containers in the trash.  I'm such a nerd for pointing it out to him, but every little bit counts, huh?

One of the coolest parts of recycling is getting the lid closed on the trash bin every week. Before I'd made up my mind that, 'yes, I can make a recycling center run', we would seldom get the lid completely closed on our ginormous trash can.  Poor James would get put in the trash can on trash day so he could compact the trash.  I'd hold his hands and make him jump up and down so I could fit just one more bag in.  Now there's rooms for another bag or two each week.  Too bad though, I think he misses getting to jump up and down in the trash. :0)


8 lbs. of #1 plastic
4 lbs. of aluminum
6 lbs. of #2 plastic
12 lbs. of tin cans
49 lbs. of newspaper
41 lbs. of glass


  1. Wow! I am seriously impressed. With our recycables, I just hand them over to my hubby and he takes them to the center where HE sorts them. hehe

    You've got a terrific system going there.

  2. Have you read Garbageland by Elizabeth Royte (sp?) A major personal project is set in motion (eventually to become this book) when SHE weighs HER garbage generated in her NYC apt, then begins to wonder what becomes of it once it leaves her sight. Thus she makes field trips to landfills (that part was FAScinating), separating stations, recycling centers, composting centers (truly, she found such a thing), etc. She always goes off on tangents concerning plastics, the explosion of water in bottles, home and worm composting, and the like. I think you'd really enjoy this read. Pastor Harley Davidson owns it if you're looking for one to borry, thus saving a tree limb.