How many of us dopers recycle? And if you do, is it by choice or by law?

I don’t mainly because there is no room in my apt, but when i have the opportunity I do.

Don’t let the loveless ones sell you a world wrapped in grey.

For me recycling is one of those things, like vegetarianism, religion and monogamy, that all sound like good ideas in theory but rarely work in the real world. I just don’t have the time or energy. I KNOW I should and I know it’s important. I’m glad some people do it. It’s one of those things I’l do just as soon as I get everything else in order.

I do but because I choose to. The city gives us a recycling bin that we can put out once a week but it usually takes me about a month to fill it. I’m not a freak about it though. I put in the big stuff: glass jars, soup cans, newspapers etc. I don’t get all freaky about the tops of juice cans etc.

I’d also have a compost pile if we owned our own spot…have to wait 'till we get our little piece of green in the country.

I don’t mind pitching in the correct containers and so forth. But what I hate is when people or communities try to ram it down my throat. I naturally get very resistant to the attitude that “good” people recycle and anybody who doesn’t is a earth-destroying butt-headed jerkwad.

In NYC I recycled and returned cans & bottles for cash deposits back (a few times, it was what enabled me to eat or get a Subway token) but in NC there are no regulations on the subject, and thus I am helping destroy the world.

Yer pal,

Our community has a great recycling program - they’ll take plastics 1-6, catalogues, junk mail, packaging cardboard, magazines, as well as the usual bottles, cans and newspapers. I recycle as much as I can because I can.

I pretty much figure most curbside recycling is a feel-good sort of thing, and not necessarily making much real impact on the environment. We’re not saving the earth simply by recycling those newspapers, and it bugs me that there’s so many do-gooders who want to insist we are. I’ve always advocated that the number one thing we can do to save the environment is to deal with overpopulation. Try telling THAT to the soccer mom dropping her recyclables at Eco-cycle in her SUV with her 4 kids in the back seat. Very unpopular view.

That said, I do usually recycle the things that my city picks up on the curb. There’s a whole pile of things you can put in there, but I tend to put newspapers, cans, and jars in it. I do this mainly because it’s simpler than putting them in the garbage and then having to take the garbage out 3 times more than if I just put 'em in the recycle bin.

I truly miss living in Michigan, where all pop/beer cans have a 10 cent deposit. Not only does this clean up roads and public places, but I put myself through school on those deposits. I used to buy cheap beer on the buy-5-sixpacks, get-1-free plan, made possible only because my favorite cheapo beer was $3/six pack with deposit.

Whoa! So how come everywhere I look there are signs reminding me that it’s illegal to put recyclable materials in a regular trash bin? Or is that local to Orange County?

“Succurrite, succurrite, horribilis heffalumpus! Hoff, hoff, hellibilis horralumpus! Holl, holl, hoffabilis hellerumpus!”

      • I do not have the reference, but I recall reading that (a couple years back, anyway) every municipal recycling program in the country lost money - sometimes big money. The only easily proftable consumer material to recycle is aluminum, and that’s only if the people who have it take it to the recycling center themselves.
      • Industrial sources have more materials that can be profitably recycled because industries can supply large amounts of the material, that doesn’t require labor-intensive picking up or sorting. Industrial waste is about 95% of all the trash discarded, so the best gains are to be made by encouraging industry to recycle or, usually easier, use less material to begin with (where possible, like girls’ swimsuits!!!). Forcing ordinary people to sort and recycle residential trash is basically a waste of time and money.
      • Fun Fact: 12 of the worst 50 Superfund sites are former newspaper-recycling plants. Bleaching brown newspaper to turn it white releases dioxin, which costs lots of money to dispose of properly. This is the real reason you see more recycled paper products left brown; not because “it looks natural”.- MC

We do not have curbside recycling here, so being home all the time, I decided I wanted to make the world a better place by sorting plastic/glass and newspapers and hauling it to the recycle center myself. I did it once and it is too much of a pain in the ass.

So, I burn my newspapers and other burnables and the rest is going to a trash heap.

I am, however, a very concientious (sp?) composter. When I am at a friends house helping clean up dinner, I have a very hard time throwing food down the garbage disposal.
My garden this year and my flowers were quite brilliant with little fertilizing, due to such rich soil.

I know in Minnesota and Cali that recycling is required. I was surprised that it’s not here in Seattle (Motto: Home of the tree huggers). Everywhere you look there are recylcing bins, and people use them dilligently. You get a lot of dirty looks if you don’t.

Don’t let the loveless ones sell you a world wrapped in grey.

Bunny Girl, there are some very good composters that you can look at at that range from about $80 - 125. If you are feeling more generous about your garden, you can blow a wad for about $500 for a composter directly from Sweden that you can plant flowers on top the lid to make it look pretty.

I would love to have a “designer” composter, but the old packing crates that hubby ripped apart and nailed together to make my composter works just a good for free.

For an accelerator, you can use high falutin’ products from garden stores, or you can use what the Garden Guy, Paul James says: A can of beer every once in a while for the yeast inside the brew to get things going. I get the skunk beer from neighbors and dump it on my pile.

Recycling is the law in New York City, even though our beloved mayor doesn’t think much of the idea.

I don’t mind the effort so much, being the tree-hugging sort, and imaginative enough to picture the mountains of garbage eight million closely-packed people generate each and every day.

What bugs me is the attitude of the municipal garbagemen, who are de facto judges of whether you’ve done the right thing or not (glass and plastic bottles and cans in the blue bin; paper products in the green). If their decision goes against you, your trash stays right there on the curb. Gets smelly and fly-infested during the warm season.

I’ve begun going outside to wait when I hear the truck coming, swinging my legs gaily from the edge of the stoop and greeting the boys with a sunny smile. “HEY, buddy, something wrong with THAT bag? Whaddaya mean it’s plastic? It isn’t bottles, is it? That makes it GARBAGE, and it goes in YOUR truck!!!”


When the big recycling craze came along, a lot of communities jumped on the bandwagon without really having an infrastructure in place. As a result, a lot of recycled stuff wound up being stored for a long time, then dumped in landfills anyway.

Things seem better now, as the market has built to handle recycled stuff. But at first, it just cost a lot of money and possibly even hurt the environment because of the added steps of waste handling.

I return my pop cans/bottles for the refundable deposit, and I keep two recycle bins for newspapers, magazines, milk jugs, cans and glass. I put leftover food in the fridge, but neither of us will ever eat leftovers, so about a week later it all goes into the disposal.

I have to say we’re a little hypocritical at my house. We do all this recycling and “good for the environment” crap, but we still go through seven thousand disposable diapers every week. Blame that on the hubby, though. I was all for using cloth, but for some weird, inexplicable reason, he wouldn’t go for it.

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

I was feeling guilty because I have been pretty slack about recycling since I moved to a small town that doesn’t have curbside recycling.
Newspapers–waste of time, I agree.
Magazines–take them to work or doctor’s office or place where people congregate so they get reread.
Aluminum cans–absolutely recycle–aluminum is not a renewable resource.
Don’t feel guilty about disposable diapers–cotton is the most ecologically devasting crop to grow IMHO. Pre-emergent herbicide, post-emergent herbicide, fertilizer, defoliant and really high levels of sheet erosion. Also, since most people have extremely sloppy hygene (sp?) when it comes to changing diapers–particularly in day cares!!!–you may be preventing the spread of disease. Think about all the e-coli that seeps through those leaky cloth diapers—yuk!