Who remembers the ‘Crying Indian’ commercial from the ’70’s? If you don’t, it’s on YouTube – yes, a 40 year old PSA – everything’s on YouTube! I remember it because it was good. It stuck with me as a child thinking, ‘I don’t want to live like that. No wonder he’s upset.’ I also remember feeling like it was filmed where I lived. Beautiful little rivers that lead to a trash lined backwater with a steel mill belching smoke in the distance. There was always trash along the roads. Every Spring the snow plowed edges would melt and leave behind the pervious years scattered bits of waste blown out of the back of a truck or indiscriminately tossed out a car window. Yes, tossed out a window. We would never do that today (at least I hope not). These days I think most of us are a bit more conscious about how we treat Mother Earth. Now that we’ve picked up the trash, these days the goal is to reuse more of it. Some do more than others.

Remember this ad campaign?
Remember this ad campaign? – from 1971 !

One of those ‘more’ people would be my Aunt Kathy – she’s a recycling superstar!! Go into her garage and there’s a bank of bins labeled for 6 different types to be taken in. Wow – but I’m just not that organized. Or am I ? Turns out, recycling in my county is easier than ever. This year they negotiated a contract to include curbside pick up. Yay ! Trick is, if you aren’t in a designated mandatory recycling area, you’ll have to request bins and to be put on the route.  Really, a phone call is all it takes ?! Yup, they brought me two bins – one for paper/cardboard, one for plastics 1 & 2 and aluminum. OK, so it isn’t everything, but it’s a start.

Curbside pick up - it's so easy!!
Curbside pick up – it’s so easy!!

We’ve been doing this since my son’s friends had been showing up and drinking tons of sodas. I can’t stand to toss those cans, so I was bagging them and taking them to the drop bins behind the grocery store. Then one day a strange man popped out from behind “Hey, were those cans?!”,he said – as he scared the tar out of me. “Um, yes,..right on top…enjoy.” , I said. “Wanna see my dog?”, he replied. I don’t think I’ve ever entered my vehicle so fast without actually running! Never again. There are better ways. 

The #1 & 2 plastics that they pick up curbside make up a huge portion of what we toss. It’s drink jugs, water bottles and fresh food containers, even the interior packaging for print cartridges!

Old cartridges go to Office Depot.
Old cartridges go to Office Depot.

Then there paper products. That’s a no brainer. Newspaper, magazines, catalogs. Then you’ve got cereal boxes and cardboard shipping boxes. Recycle that Amazon Smile! 

I'll bet that trash can was made of recycled plastic.
I’ll bet that trash can was made of recycled plastic.

I keep the larger green bin in the garage for paper/cardboard recycling. It’s too big for inside, but to make it all easier on everybody, I went to Home Depot and picked up a couple of these blue cans for about $4.00 each. There’s no doubt what they’re for. Even guests don’t question it. As a matter of fact, I’ve had plenty of positive feedback from the kids – my target. 

It doesn't take up much space.
It doesn’t take up much space.

Speaking of kids, kids burn through batteries. See this pic? In a small spot in the pantry (under the area where the fresh batteries are stored) is a box of spent batteries. I make it easy for them. They dump the dead batteries in the box as they get the new ones. No excuses! See, I even recycled that Cottonelle box – the perfect size. Along with a ziploc bag for fluorescent bulbs. Those go to Home Depot or Lowes, but that’s another blog.

Discreet saving.
Discreet saving.

Plastic bags are everywhere. I’m amazed that even though I use my reusable bags for shopping, that we continue to amass so many! That’s ok, I use them in small cans as liners and recycle the rest. There are special recycling trash cans outside the entrance to my favorite grocery store for paper / plastic / egg cartons. I just grab the bag o’ bags and egg crates, from the pantry on my way to the car. I dump them on the way into the store. Really not a big deal. Everyone can do it. …Even that nasty lady at the grocery store that scoffed at my ‘green bags’ a couple of years back – “Next we’ll have to bag it ourselves!” she growled behind me. I volleyed a “That’s not the point.”, to her. Then adding “…genius” to the cashier. To which the cashier and I smiled. I feel good about my green bags. 

Of course, I’m no superstar recycler, but every little bit helps. You don’t have to be an organizing guru – or have a schedule to follow. I take the batteries in every 6 months! And the egg crates, whenever. The big idea here is showing the kids that it’s a good thing to do. Like picking up your clothes means they’ll be clean to wear – picking up the trash makes the world a better place to live in – and recycling that trash means we don’t have to pick it out of the ocean. 

We’re doing better, although, sometimes I think there are people that need to see the Crying Indian commercial all over again.

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