Author Topic: No recycling options - how to prioritize  (Read 1306 times)

hooplady

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No recycling options - how to prioritize
« on: October 04, 2021, 07:00:32 PM »
For various reasons (they cite the general labor shortage) my county has suspending curbside pickup of recycling. They've replaced it with drop-off sites, but early reports indicate people are dumping trash there and the bins are overflowing.

I'm hoping this is resolved soon but meanwhile I'm struggling to come up with a plan. I've always tried to cut down on my plastic waste, but usually the alternatives are glass, paper and metal. Now none of those are recyclable either. I have fond memories of tagging along with my mother in the '60's as she made the rounds to drop off cans and glass bottles at various locations, usually with a small monetary reward ("pin money" to help keep the household going) so this is quite a culture shock.

My question is, in the short term how should I prioritize what I have to put in the regular trash going to a landfill? I assume paper and cardboard are the most biodegradable. I already have a compost heap which is overflowing, I can't put much more in there. Are there alternatives that I need to seek out? There are a couple of metal recycling plants in the area where I can perhaps take my cans, even if the reward is pennies.

I'm doing my best to give away cardboard boxes to anyone who is moving. Since the pandemic I started doing more deliveries so I will try to change those to curbside pickups which only generate plastic bags (better? worse? I don't know at this point). Hopefully soon our cases will decline enough that I can start actually going into stores so I can use my canvas bags.

Ideas appreciated, thanks.


Ecky

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2021, 07:12:47 PM »
I'd probably prioritize recycling metal, if you can still recycle anything at all. Tossing plastic in a landfill isn't great, but that's still better than it ending up where it isn't supposed to be. Glass doesn't seem to be much of an issue and doesn't strike me as being a pollutant - I've been to beaches where broken glasses has rolled in the surf and just become colorful sand.

seemsright

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2021, 10:01:34 PM »
Our area does not recycle much anymore.

Do you have anywhere you could burn the cardboard and paper? You could also save the carboard and paper as weed block for many different gardening methods.

Our state makes us turn in the cans for 10 cents a pop...those get saved in a box and taken in when it gets full. In general it is a huge PITA and we try to not buy drinks in cans.


secondcor521

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2021, 10:44:21 PM »
We have curbside recycling, but we also have things called "transfer stations" (I think that's the term), which are basically places where you can take your recycling.  You might google around your area and see if there are any around you.  They should take glass, metal, and cardboard (and maybe more).  I have a small recycling bin for glass (not allowed in curbside) and take it to the transfer station every few months.

Metal can also be taken to a scrap metal dealer - they'll pay you literally pennies, but at least it keeps that out of the landfill.

You should be able to keep it all out of the trash with a little effort.

SunnyDays

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2021, 11:00:57 PM »
Can you just store anything you canít take somewhere until the service is running again?  Cardboard can just be flattened, tins can be nested.  Plastic is bulkier though, so thatís what I would prioritize finding other ways of disposal for.  If drink cans are only being recycled and not returned for deposit, they can be flattened too.

former player

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2021, 11:49:33 PM »
Try changing your buying habits?  I've now got a place I can take my own food containers for refill  And don't buy anything that isn't food until you can recycle again.

Yes, it's less convenient than being a "consumer", but it's largely doable with a bit of work.

Britan

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2021, 05:27:38 AM »
Cardboard, at least some kinds, can be composted. I think it needs to not be laminated/shiny. But you may find local places that do composting, or could start your own compost bin if you have the space. We have a local grocery/coop that will take our compost able material for $3/gallon bucket, for example. The city has been trying to set up industrial scale composting for years, but the folks who run the trash incinerator have too much money in it to let that go through.

chemistk

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2021, 06:03:54 AM »
I agree with another poster that reducing your consumption of plastic (and maybe cardboard) is top priority.

With metal, I'd make/invest in a crushing implement - you'll be able to stock up on metal in a compact footprint until you can scrap/recycle it.

With glass, I'd clean it and use what you can (jars, etc.), advertise what you can't use, and just throw away the rest.

Cardboard is definitely a challenge because it can accumulate quickly and become difficult to manage. If you really want to keep it out of landfills, I agree with fewer deliveries. The one upside to plastic bags is that many stores now have a recycling receptacle for them.

Fishindude

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2021, 07:15:06 AM »
I think a whole lot of people just use the recycle bins for trash.   Drove by my closest one this week and there were rolls of carpet padding piled up beside it.

GuitarStv

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2021, 07:42:02 AM »
I think a whole lot of people just use the recycle bins for trash.   Drove by my closest one this week and there were rolls of carpet padding piled up beside it.

Man, I wish I could recycle this!  *Drops it in the blue bin.*

We call this 'wishcycling' around here.

SweatingInFL

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2021, 08:21:04 AM »
Have you checked with local churches and schools? Some around me have cardboard and paper recycling bins. Considering the condition of your city, they might end up in the landfill anyway, but it's worth a shot!

If I was in your situation, I would only hold onto paper, cardboard and cans. The ineffectiveness of plastic recycling has been highly publicized in the last few years, and my city doesn't take glass anymore either. If the cans require too much cleaning to not stink up the place, they would get tossed too.

We call this 'wishcycling' around here.

I could rant all day about how much I hate single-stream recycling, and long for the separate bins to return. 'Wishcycling' is right...

hooplady

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2021, 01:53:50 PM »
Thanks for all the replies. I checked out the closest drop-off location and all the gates were locked - doesn't bode well for this short-term solution.

I'm in an urban area with a very small yard, so burning is out. I already use cardboard for weed blocking and I do compost it but the key is going to be cutting down the intake.

Most of my drinking glasses are already repurposed jars of various sizes.

Going to check out the metal recycling places to see what they'll accept. Mostly they deal in larger quantities so I may have to go in with someone to get a big enough load. I don't buy soda or other drinks, most of my cans are pet food.

As households go I'm probably pretty light in plastic consumption. No takeout, I make most of my meals from scratch. I'm making some of my cleaning products as well.

People are already expressing concerns that this will end up as a permanent change. If that happens then I hope some alternatives will pop up.

3quarters

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2021, 04:52:10 PM »
I used to live in what I'm guessing is your county. Do you have any friends or family in the next county down (the one with that old city)? It's not exactly sanctioned but I used to bring a little bit of recycling to my parents there when my apartment complex didn't offer recycling. There's also a great drop-off in the historic district, but if everyone's wise to it that county will probably suffer the same recycling fate.

hooplady

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2021, 05:32:58 PM »
I used to live in what I'm guessing is your county. Do you have any friends or family in the next county down (the one with that old city)? It's not exactly sanctioned but I used to bring a little bit of recycling to my parents there when my apartment complex didn't offer recycling. There's also a great drop-off in the historic district, but if everyone's wise to it that county will probably suffer the same recycling fate.
I actually used to live and work in that other county. :-) I do still have a couple of friends in that area, hopefully it doesn't come to exporting my stuff down there.

waltworks

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Re: No recycling options - how to prioritize
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2021, 08:29:34 AM »
The stuff being picked up at the curb (at least in the last couple of years) almost certainly wasn't being recycled anyway, as recyclables prices got too low for it to be worthwhile. The trucks were dumping your recycling at the landfill anyway, so probably nothing has really changed.

Metals are your low hanging recycling fruit (assuming you've already done all you can to reduce your consumption/need for extra packaging), though, and it might conceivably be a net environmental benefit to save up aluminum and steel items and periodically take them to a recycling center or scrap metal place. If you're driving 30 miles to the county transfer station with 3 pounds of cans, though, you're probably not doing the earth any favors.

Remember that recycling is the LAST of the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, and as a last resort, Recycle).

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