Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Open Thread: Going Green

So, last evening, a friend challenged me about going green. As we looked at 8 empty wine bottles, the question was: Do you recycle? (I don't. I'm happy to seperate my trash, but we have no curbside option.) So, I put the question to you readers: Do *you* recycle? How do you do it? Is it worth it to hand-carry glass bottles (or plastic, or whatever you recycle), *back* to the grocery store or recycling center. Do you have curbside or a service? Do you feel you're doing your little part or is it really a bother with little benefit? What would it take to get you to do it?


bhorg said...

I take bottles/plastic back to the grocery with me.

I have curbside service, but I don't see the point in paying when I'm going to the grocery store once a week anyway.

I also take all of my cardboard (including boxes from pre-packaged food) to the recycling center as well.

Fortunately I have several recycling options downtown that are all very convenient to me.

anne said...

We recycle at the O'Malia's on New Jersey. You don't have to seperate glass, aluminum and plastic, you just have to make sure your plastic is either #2 and/or #7 (i think). we just have a seperate container/trash can for recyclables and when it is full, run it over to the store.

I also donate our old newspapers to the Keystone Animal Clinic - they use it to line their crates and cages.

I think that no matter where you are in Marion County, you can sign up for recycle service - it's maybe $6/month...

Anonymous said...

Yes - I recycle. And it's a good thing with all those wine bottles and newspapers. Oh, and the plastics that aren't biodegradable.

It's no bother. I don't have curbside service either, but I would pay for it if I had access. I simply put the stuff in a bag and take it every week when I go to the grocery store, where bins are parked in the lot. It takes a few seconds to do and it's well worth it.

If you don't recycle, what would it take to start? For starters, think about all the garbage you'll divert from landfills. I'd hope that would be enough incentive. If it's not, perhaps you might think for a second about why that isn't a higher priority.

Biscuitcleaver said...

I live downtown and bike to the store with a backpack. I pack up my paper bags and the rest of my recyclables and dump them off at the o'malias.

Then when I check out I use my rayon bags to carry everything back. Sometimes if it's too hot, or I'm too lazy to bike, I'll drive and at that point I'll get the paper bags that end up back at the bin.

Anonymous said...

We live just north of downtown and pay $5/mo. for curbside recycling, which I believe is an option for all Marion County residents (?) It's very convenient; they take plastic #1/#2, glass, aluminum & paperbags/newspapers. If you're a Marion county resident, you can put out cardboard for recycling with your regular trash (no additional fee).

anne said...

12:59 - I couldn't agree more. I think the question should not be what would it take, byt Why wouldn't you recycle? It takes 5 minutes out of our day to take our recycleables to O'Malias. It seems so clear that the little bit of inconvenience,money or time is worth it to do what you can to try to help the mess that our environment has become. All you need to do is realize how many more "no-zone" days we have now as opposed to when I was younger and that each little thing you can do - whether it be recycling, biking to work, walking to work etc... can have an impact.

alphabetbydesign said...

I recycle and just fill boxes that I keep next to my trash. When they're full I put them in the trunk of my car and drive them to the drop off at Walmart. It isn't really convenient, but I think it's important so I do it.

I know the fee for curbside recycle service is minimal, and I don't think the problem is that people can't afford $6/month to recycle. I think the basic concept that it's easier for people to throw everything into one trash bin and put it on the sidewalk once per week. It's so easy that most wouldn't consider paying to complicate that process. It goes against our basic instincts in society - we pay a premium for conveniences, not extra work. If the fee is so minimal, is the trade off worth the fact that so few people actually do it?

Lindy said...

Thanks for the tip about the cardboard 1:49! We just signed up for the recycling service this year after learning it is available to us. It is somewhat of a hassle to have two different pick up days, but only because we forget to put our bins out about every other week;). We do think it is important to recycle though, and therefore don't mind the extra time. We also take old magazines that we won't read again to our daughter's school for use in projects during the school year. And, if you're looking for a good use for paperbags, Your Neighbor's Garden accepts them for use in their home market (or at least they did last year;))!

RDKLEIN said...

We use curbside as well- and have recently started recycling cardboard and paperboard. I did an experiment to see how much my family of five accumulated in seven days. The results amazed me. Now there are several places to recycle cardboard (Broad Ripple Park for one). I don't mind hauling it- since there is no liquid residue to worry about.

My current challenge is to watch the kinds of containers we bring into the house in the first place- and make sure they are recyclable.

Andy said...

Yes, we recycle via the curbside service. Started doing it a few months ago. Took a little while to get into the habit of not throwing everything into one trash can, but it's routine now. I was surprised by how much recyclable material we accumulate each week. Even though I don't consider myself much of an environmentalist it does seem like a good idea to recycle what we can.

Kirsten said...

We recycle via the curbside service. It's cheap & easy. It took a few phone calls to get our bin, but we were the first house on our street - but there are more now!

But more than anything, we try to reduce how much waste our house produces, recyclable or otherwise. We avoid plastic produce bags and bring our own grocery bags (we've got cute EnviroSax which you can pick up at At Home in the City). Buying staples from bulk bins also helps eliminate a lot of extra packaging waste.

Chris said...

I wonder how many people will take the time to openly say why they won't recycle...

We recycle. We don't have curbside pick up where we live in Johnson Co., but I have two extra trash cans (one for paper, one for everything else) that we fill in the garage. Our closest drop-off point is next to church, so once a month we make a quick stop off on the way. I would pay to do it because it is not about the convenience or money, it should be about everyone just doing a little- it will go further than you think! We also compost and I think people might be amazed at how easy it really is.

Country Mouse City Mouse Indy said...

Can someone post the link to recycle curbside (in Broad Ripple). I'd be HAPPY to pay for the service and it would be much easier for me to get my husband to do the same if he didn't get the feeling that we'd accumulate a bunch of trash if I don't take it TO the recycling location!

DMC said...

The Google is your friend: http://www.kibi.org/recycle/index.htm. This is the page of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc, and lists multiple options in Indianapolis.

Sadly, those of you in Indianapolis will have to call the Mayor's (in)Action Center. I've heard it is even worse under the new administration, if that is even possible.

I live in Carmel and Ray's, our trash hauler, does curbside for an extra $5 per quarter.

DMC said...

Sorry I didn't take care of this in my first comment, but I'd like to turn the table: why wouldn't you recycle?

Even if you have to tote the items back to the grocery, most of which have bins in their parking lot, it is barely any trouble.

As someone who has to take the garbage out, I really enjoy only taking out one or two bags a week. We compost, too.

andrea said...

I don't recycle. I used to but it's not practical to transport on the bus, especially if I shop immediately after work or try to combine grocery shopping with other errands.

I'd gladly pay for curbside recycling or some similar service if it were provided for apartment dwellers.

I do try to be mindful of how much I consume and am always looking for ways to reduce that amount.

chef's wife said...

We recycle. We have curbside service inside Marion County. The $6 fee costs less than paying for extra trips to the public bins and keeps the public areas cleaner as they frequently are overflowing. We set one bin next to our trash can in the kitchen and it is so easy to separate that our 2 year old grandson can handle it. He understands what we mean when we tell him that the item in question is recyclable, he is so proud of himself and we hope that he grows up thinking that this is just how we do things.

We had no problems getting our bin. My husband is in an industry where he has tons of cardboard and plastic, so we requested an additional bin. We got it the next week and there is no additional charge.

We carry our reusable bags everywhere we go and never take plastic bags from the store. We even have the little produce bags so that we don't have to use those bags.

I think that the most important thing to remember is to do what you can and to lead by example, not to be preachy to everyone you encounter. Okay, so I preach to my children, but not only about the environment.

While the curbside service does cost a few dollars, other green changes actually save you money. CFLs, driving the speed limit and using windows in leiu of A/C (when it's nice out, not above 85 degrees) have really reduced our bills. We never complain about having too much money. ;)

Sorry to be so windy, I am trying to generate enough wind power to watch 10 minutes of tv...LOL

Kristy "Greenthumb" Guthrie said...

I recycle as much as possible--and it's a pretty new thing for me. It doesn't take much effort--and Indy is getting better about places to take your recycling.

As a gardener I "recycle" all of my food waste (no animal products--just veggies, fruit, and coffee grounds) in my compost pile.

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful has a pretty good website about where to recycle things: http://www.kibi.org/recycle/recycle_reuse_guide.htm. Consider the fact that those bottles of wine go into a head and will remain there forever--far beyond your time. Or the plastic bags from grocery--buy a canvas reusable bag or two.

Curbside is available within the city limits for about $6 a month. Call the Mayor’s Action Center at 327-4MAC to sign-up (they'll bil you 3 months at a time).

CorrND said...

I would pay for the curbside service, but as far as I know, that's not available at my apartment complex. And until I get a larger space, there's nowhere for a second garbage can to collect the recyclables to take to a grocery store (unless it goes in the bedroom!).

I grew up recycling and was horrified when I moved here and realized recycling wasn't mandatory (I was pained the first time I threw away a soda can). You shouldn't have to pay to recycle. That just offers people one more reason NOT to recycle. Many municipalities actually turn a profit through free recycling programs. You just need to get high participation and you get that by making it mandatory.

I think you've got a different class of readers here on your blog because my observations from 6 years in downtown Indy are that only a small minority actually recycles.

zcalgal said...

We have curbside (thank goodness because we are really lazy people!). I actually got a second bin because every week our one bin was overflowing. I really try to pay attention to what's in the bin too. About 3 months ago my husband and I were like, "Dang, look at all those plastic water bottles...what a waste!" So, no more bottled water for us, we went out and got the 'safe plastic' reusable bottles.
That being said, I have to admit I worry sometimes about those recycling trucks. Back in Kansas City one of the local news channels followed one and recorded it going straight to the dump and dumping it right in a landfill! Very sad. Hope that is not happening here!

Anonymous said...

We recycle everything possible, including all cardboard packaging and mail (purged of all account #s, etc). We simply keep plastic storage containers in the garage to fill with recyclables. We then run it over to the Broad Ripple park center during trips to Breadsmith. by the way, not all centers accept mail and cardboard like the BR center does. We could readily afford curbside service but choose this option for the reason suggested by zcalgal below: we don't trust the private contractors who leave trash all over our street on garbage day (despite many complaints to the Mayor's Action Center) to actually take what we leave to a recycling center.

The Carrels said...

We recycle through Ray's service...it's $42 a year...It is the only company that would pick up (we live west of 465 but still in Indy/Marion Co.)

They come every other week and will leave you an extra bin if you request it in advance.

Carrie said...

I work in an office which is actually a house and my boss has us recycle and set it out for curbside pickup. My office overlooks the curb and one day, after I took the time to separate everything, I watched as the regular trash truck came and picked up both the regular trash and the recyle bin and threw the trash in the truck. I was so livid. I called and reported them, but I'm sure it happens more than we think.

SassyRedhead said...

Indiana does not encourage recycling. It is not part of our community culture. Its a shame.

Like corrnd said, I was shocked when I moved to Indiana 15 years ago and found that not only was recycling not MANDATORY, but you had to pay extra for the "privilege".


I live in an apartment complex, and there is NO recycling collection next to the trash dumpsters.

I have NO EXTRA room to store a bag of recycling until the next time I go to the grocery store.

I grew up in a city where it cost you extra if you DIDN'T recycle. You were allowed ONE trash can on the curb each week. Any extra cans or bags and you were fined, and yes -- the waste management companies kept close tabs every week. There were recycling collections next to trash dumpsters in apartments & condo communities. It was part of the entire community culture.

If you want the entire community to commit, don't ask them to go out of their way or be the lone man out. Change the collective community culture and expectations.