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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Recycle Your Old Food

Ah, the question of the day, is recycling worth the extra effort.

Recently, Seattle, Washington enacted a new law when it comes to those nasty leftovers.

It is no longer acceptable to simply scrape that plate into the trash.  Now, residents are being required to recycle that old food or face fines.  It seems a lot of people are up in arms in one of the most progressive areas in the country.  For awhile now food businesses have been required to sort those waste edibles for recycling and composting.  Now, all sorts of businesses and individuals are going to be required to do the same.

I remember when no one recycled.  There was no yellow or blue bins at the side of the road on trash day.  Everyone put everything in the trash.  Some people would save and wash their tuna cans for gardening or projects, but for the most part, when you were done with it, straight to the trash it went.  Now, everyone is familiar with recycling and most people in this country recycle to some extent.  Yet, when plastic and paper recycling began, many people were upset.  They didn't want the smell sitting in their yard, it was disgusting, it was going to take too much precious time. ... ah, the reasons that people had back then.  Ironically, they are the same as today with the objections to recycling food waste.

After all, how much difference would it really make?

Recycling does make a difference.  If you question that, I invite you to my apartment complex.  For the first time in more years than I can count, I live somewhere that there is no recycling.  Every week, the huge ugly trash dumpsters fill up with everyone's garbage.  The reek is near unbearable during the summer months.  My apartment complex has around 10 dumpsters, two of which are those huge open monstrosities that you need a tractor trailer to haul off.

Across the street from us is another apartment complex.  They have only 6 smaller dumpsters and a recycling dumpster.  Their dumpsters are never full, and I've the smell is not overwhelming even on the hottest day.  That little bit of recycling that each neighbor does adds up.  Their complex is neat and the dumpsters are never overflowing.  They take recycling and reusing seriously there.  On just about any given day, you can find a decent piece of furniture, or a bag of clothing, or even a set of dishes sitting on the utility box next to one of the dumpsters.

I must admit that I've been tempted to sort out my recyclables and drop them off across the street in that other complex.  Until then, I do the little I can.... I keep a bag on my back door for aluminum cans.  Even a few of the neighbors know that they can drop their cans off at my apartment.  I then crush them and take them to my step-dad who turns them in for a little bit of extra cash.  Those few cans may not make much of a difference to some, but to me, that's one less thing in those big ugly dumpsters.

Seattle, here's what I have to say.  Please take the time and before you know it, you will wonder why the rest of the country isn't following suit.  Then again, if you don't want to have to recycle your old leftovers, maybe it's time to take a look at how much you waste.  Maybe you'll be surprised and start eating those leftovers instead of dropping them in the trash.  It certainly won't hurt your budget, unless you decide the fines are more up your alley.