Everyone remembers learning about recycling as a kid, at least I do. In fifth grade we learned about the Earth and recycling for a week. I got very into it. I came home and declared that our house would be recycling anything we could. I collected cans for weeks and made a few dollars off of them. In sixth grade I announced to my entire science class that I would make piggy banks out of plastic water bottles for anyone who gave me one. It was pretty serious for an eleven year old.
I’m not sure what made me quit. I don’t remember if I got bored or felt defeated. I think for most people it’s sort of a, ” plenty of other people recycle so that’s enough“. But we need to stop putting off the responsibility of recycling on other people. The amount of people who throw the responsibility on others is far more greater than the responsible people who actually do it.
About a month ago, after going to Aldi’s, I decided to start recycling again. I got extremely excited when I found out that Aldis doesn’t use plastic bags and that they make you use your own bags. What a simple and fantastic idea! They had some pretty nice, durable, plastic bags for about 75 cents by the registers so I bought two of them. They could actually fit quite a bit in them. They had really nice plastic handles that buttoned shut too. I was impressed. The best part was not having to throw away the millions of plastic grocery bags I carry home every week. I was really glad we were going to get rid of the bundle of useless plastic grocery store bags we kept too!
Recycling is easy and barely any work at all. This is why EVERYONE needs to do it. For one, you are helping out with the environment. Two, you reduce the amount of countless materials that simply go to waste. And three, you feel really great about taking responsibility for the waste you create!
I honestly had no clue how much plastic, tin cans, cardboard, and paper we threw away every week. It was shocking! I figured three brown paper bags from the store would be plenty of room to keep the recycling in. By the third day our paper bag for plastics was over flowing. I live in a little apartment, so our trash has to be taken out every couple of days or it smells up the whole place. I noticed that we were taking out the trash less and the recycling more. The trash didn’t build up near as quickly as the recycling did! It was truly eye opening.
For us, we have a lovely recycling center just a few miles from the house. The great thing about the recycling center is that you can recycle way more than just paper, plastic, and cardboard. You can almost recycle anything really! The recycling center is extremely helpful, but it is only open certain days and times. This doesn’t make it any less convenient though. In fact, having certain days and times to take out the recycling keeps us on a schedule and helps us plan certain days as “taking out the recycling” days.
I ask everyone to do their own research and find out if you have a recycling center near you. You don’t necessarily need to recycle everything to help out. Start out small. Begin with just plastic or paper. Then once you get the hang of that, add in some other materials. You’ll be surprised at how much it changes your perspective on your own little carbon footprint. If you don’t have a recycling center near you, see where there are other recycling bins and what materials you can recycle. I promise every little bit counts. So do your part and of course: reduce, re-use, recycle!