The following was featured in the May 2016 edition of Welcome Home, SCCLT's quarterly newsletter.
There was a recent discussion thread about the rise in refuse collection fees. Some neighbors wondered if there was an alternative to borough collection. Then one person pointed out that his fees had actually decreased. Like me, he has the smallest garbage collection bin and therefore was charged the "low usage" fee. He explained that because he carefully recycles, the small bin is adequate to his family's needs. Even odd plastics can be recycled if you take them to the bin at the Hamilton Ave. shopping plaza.
"Can you recycle yogurt containers?" one of my coworkers asked me the other day. She was surprised that I wasn't sure until she remembered, "Oh right, you don't buy yogurt in plastic containers." Yogurt is one of those foods that can be easily made at home. once you get into the habit, it takes very little time and energy. I make a 'no knead" bread and find that i can make a very good load in just a few minutes a day. This year, I was delighted that I managed to harvest and dry mint for a while winter's worth of hot mint tea. Vegetables can be bought without any packaging and carried home in your own basket or bag. These kinds of habit can limit the amount of garbage that you bring into your house in the first place.
Why, then, can I be spotted accepting plastic grocery bags when I shop? I don't buy plastic garbage bags. I have a container that is designed to hold a small spastic grocery bag. out family fills one of these small bags with garbage in a week. We put our small collection bin out on the curbs about once a month. I just wish the borough also gave a "low usage" discount that took frequency into account!
I know that there are people who manage to bring almost no garbage into their homes. I'm not quite there yet. Although I can, and do, make noodles and tortillas, I still buy them pre-packaged most of the time. Maybe I will have the time and energy to always make then fresh when i am really, really retired. Reduce, reuse, recycle...and save!
Happy Earth Day,