I’ve recently been researching recycling. Say that three times fast.
Since I’ve gotten into a good groove with my zero waste efforts in grocery shopping, I’ve been looking elsewhere in my routine for areas to improve. Recycling was one such area.
Our city’s curbside recycling services are quite good, including plastics 1-7 among the usual cardboard, glass, tin cans and the like. We have generally produced roughly equal volume of recycling and trash. This is the easy part of recycling.
I did learn that aluminium foil is recyclable if balled 2 inches or bigger. Maybe everyone already knew this, but I didn’t. I decided to start my foil ball next to the recycling, and crumpled foil onto a metal hook so I could hang it from the rack on the wall.
For a few months now I’ve also been recycling plastic bags in a bin outside our supermarket (provided by a company, not the city), and so hung a cloth bag in the laundry room to collect them. This is like the plastic bag recycling that I used in the UK (through a similar bin outside the supermarket). I don’t use many of those crunchy plastic shopping bags because they are no longer allowed in Austin; however, this bag recycling also accepts cling film and ‘stretch’ plastics, which I do occasionally encounter.
It dawned on me as well that some occasional unnecessary trash is generated in the bathroom: getting tired and putting toilet roll tubes in the bin, rather than carrying them around through the house to put in the recycling. The same thing happens with shampoo bottles. This is the result of poor design (by me, I mean). Why is there no recycling bin in the bathroom? So I put some paper bags in the bathroom to collect recycling there. They live on the floor of the linen closet, which opens into the bathroom.
The other bag you see in this picture is to collect toothpaste tubes, floss containers, and deodorant containers, which I’ve learned I can recycle through a company called Teracycle. You collect specific items and mail them, free of postage, for recycling. This should help dispose of some of the sources of bathroom waste I haven’t eliminated.
The other item I occasionally recycle is fabric, through various collection bins located in parking lots near us. I used to do this in the UK as well. This is how I discard any clothing or fabrics that aren’t in good enough condition to donate. I keep a bag in our closet to collect textiles for this purpose.
Obviously there’s a theme here – I’ve got containers everywhere to collect recycling. Prior to this, we had three trash cans in our house, but only one recycling bin, which lived behind the closed doors of the laundry closet, i.e. the most difficult part of the house to reach. Similarly, when I was growing up, we had trash cans everywhere in the house, but kept the recycling in the garage; thus we kept up a constant manual migration of recycling out to the garage. A system like that makes it easy to throw away, and bothersome to recycle. That’s what I’m trying to re-engineer in our house lately.