It’s Official

Thursday night, when I delayed bringing in the groceries from the car because I had to rescue my neighbor’s Styrofoam from the trash pile, I realized that I have officially crossed the line.

I am Pemco’s Northwest Profile #17 – Obessive Compulsive Recycler.

I know this is not news to many of you, especially my poor beleaguered mother who has to put up with my sorting of her household waste whenever I come to visit. Also not a shock to those of you who have listened to the saga of the school lunchroom, where I spent the bulk of my volunteer hours at my son’s school last year, managing the lunchroom compost and recycling program.

However, it did get me to thinking about the odd little things I do to try to lessen my environmental impact. I’m not talking about the normal habits, like bringing reusable travel mugs and water bottles with me wherever I go or buying food in bulk. I’m talking about the stuff that I am guessing most households don’t do. [And if you are engaging in these behaviors and are willing to own up to them, I would love to know about it! Or feel free to add your own compulsions in the comments area!]

Here are some of the real things that I do because I am relentless recycling girl! And because I happen to love the planet and don’t want to see her trashed.

  1. Washing out plastic baggies and reusing them for several years.
  2. Taking recyclables home to recycle them –from events, camping trips, and even vacations.
  3. Moving recyclables out of the trash can in public places.
  4. Inspecting my neighbors recycling bins and moving things around as needed.
  5. Juggling my purchases by stuffing them into my pockets, purse and handing them to the kids because we forgot to bring reusable bags.
  6. Using a serrated knife to cut off the bottom of frozen juice concentrate tubes so that I can recycle the tube. (I try not to buy juice in plastic bottles since I can easily make juice in my own reusable pitcher!).
  7. Bringing my own plate, cup and fork to parties and potlucks.

I comfort myself with the thought that if everyone had something like this that they were OCD about, we really could make a big impact. I like to visualize a network of millions of relentless recyclers across the planet. Together, we will stop plastic from entering the ocean! Together, we will recycle food nutrients instead of sending them to the landfill! Together, we will restore planet Earth to its pristine glory!

Hey, if I’m going to imagine myself as a recycling hero, I may as well dream big!


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