Back to Basics: Home Recycling

Note to self, don’t choose the hottest week of the year to organize the entire house.

Hot, sticky and surrounded by bags of items to donate, piles of odds and ends awaiting a yard sale, and bags and bags of trash, my seven year old inspired me to go one step further. On a quick break over freshly baked banana bread, he looks up at me with big brown eyes and states the obvious; “we should have a recycling center.”

With four boys and a dog no one goes through more trash than the Stone household. My slightly neurotic self knows this because on one of my morning walks I calculated the average number of trash cans posted around my neighborhood . We doubled the average, ouch!

You might be wondering why the woman who switched to low watt light bulbs three years ago, and never waters her lawn to conserve water hasn’t set up a home recycling center. I could come up with lots of reasons. The truth is I was lazy. I didn’t want to look at three different barrels, I didn’t want to monitor the kids habits and most importantly I didn’t want to bother going to town hall for the requisite recycling stickers.

Yet looking at Johnny’s face I knew he was right. So together we made a plan. First stop, town hall. We picked up stickers for our trash barrels to indicate they were recycling goods and got the town’s pick up schedule. All FREE I might add.

Then we went to Wallmart and picked up barrels for inside the house. Not so free, but we took advantage of back to school sales. For $35 we got a white bin for paper & cardboard, a black bin for plastic and metal and a new green trash can for everything else. When we got home we labeled the barrels and gave everyone in the house a quick tutorial.

Then the really fun part started. We had to wash out the outside trash barrels – yuck! They in fact smell as bad as you would imagine. But you’d be amazed how much fun a hose, some bleach and boys in their bathing suits can become. An hour later we were soaked to the bone, our trash barrels were clean, and we had giggled ourselves silly.

The result, a mighty fine home recycling center, a good lesson for the boys (and me too) about social responsibility and freshly cleaned trash barrels. The best part is our trash barrel takes longer go fill up so we find ourselves taking the trash out a lot less often.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not be willing to give up the convenience of plastic cups. And I’m not ready to stop serving Sunday dinner on paper plates. But we do recycle. And it’s a lot easier than I thought.