Thursday, August 20, 2009

Recycling in a Remote Community

As you all know by now, we live in a rather remote mountain community. There are no recycling services in our little town, which makes no sense to me, as I consider this the most beautiful place in the world and think it is most definitely worth protecting! Also, my parents travel in a converted bus many months of the year and have a hard time finding recycling facilities. So... today's blog is some ideas on how to recycle, even when recycling services are unavailable.
There are many organized groups, like the Shriner's, that have public drop off locations around the city. These are dumpster sized bins that are one stream recycling. One stream means that there is no need to separate your goods. I found this site in our great Denver community by simply googling recycling sites in Colorado.

Now, for me, this means a long trip into the city in my big diesel truck, not too green. So I make sure to combine a lot of trips and keep my recycling until I have a full truck load. This has not been too difficult to do since I take all of the recycling from our three schools. Which brings up the next point, check with your local schools, many have recycling programs that will allow you to bring your stuff in. When I started the recycling programs through the schools I was only taking a bag or so per week, by the end of last year I had a truckload each week. Once we let it be known that teachers and staff could bring their recyclables in, they were so very happy to not have to take care of it themselves! Also, most schools can earn money from cell phones and some other small electronics, even if you don't have kids, it's a great way to recycle and donate to the schools.

Another big concern of mine is to not have recyclables bring in the animals. When recycling, rinse everything out very well, this will help avoid the little (or in our case, BIG) critters coming for a free meal. I do not use recycling bins, as it seems a little silly to buy something new when I can use one of the containers that I am recycling to hold more recyclables. For instance, when I buy milk at Costco, I keep the box for under my desk, it is the perfect size for junk mail, unused copies, bill envelopes and even the "stickies" I use to communicate with my husband (I'm not too with it at 3:30 am). This also makes it easy for drop off, I am able to just toss the whole thing into the dumpster.

Plastics are the worst as far as taking up space. Rinse well and crush, this method has almost doubled the space I need for these containers. I also put containers inside containers; like the ones that strawberries come in, this stacking method is another way of making your recycling space that much more efficient. Most grocery stores will recycle your plastics, so we take a bag or box each time we go to the store. I keep the aluminum cans and steel cans separate as those we get paid for, but at different levels, so to reap the full benefit, we keep those in different containers.

Since we began recycling, we have reduced our trash by at least 80%! We used to take a bag out per day, now we take it out once a week. My point is that recycling can be done anywhere with a little bit of research, and don't forget to use what you have, whether it be your own boxes as recycling containers, or a local school that will accept your goods, use it!

Lastly, I would like to suggest if your school does not have a program-start one!!!! This has been a wonderful way for me to stay in touch with my kids, meet new people and business contacts, and has made my kids feel very proud that their Mom is making a big difference in their community.


denyse said...

This is some great info, thanks!

guettel78 said...

Thanks for all of the useful tips -- it's good to know there are so many options to take your recyclables! I live in a big city, but even here it can be a struggle since there's no recycling program in place. It's been nice to see so many all-in-one recycling dumpsters appearing through town, in parks and at grocery stores, and that's made a huge difference.