2015_Day 6: Could recycling be made easier?

Georgetown residents put their plastic bags, films and cellophane in a yellow stuffer bag like this one. Only problem is, residents have to go to the local collection center once a month to pick up the free bags. I think more people would use the bags if they could be picked up somewhere like the local grocery store.

Georgetown residents put their plastic bags, films and cellophane in a yellow stuffer bag like this one. Only problem is, residents have to go to the local collection center once a month to pick up the free bags. I think more people would use the bags if they could be picked up somewhere like the local grocery store.

With the Christmas tree down and all the holiday decorations put away, today was the day to drop the tree off at our local collection center, where it will be ground up and used for mulch. With the help of my father-in-law and his van, it was a piece of cake and we were home in a half-hour. And it was free. As I was dropped off at home, the garbage truck went by and I could see the green branches of at least one Christmas tree sticking out the back, destined most likely for the landfill rather than the mulch pile.

It made me wonder why, when there are options provided by municipalities for recycling things like Christmas trees, don’t more people don’t take advantage of them? A story in our local newspaper right after Christmas said more than 300 people bring their trees to the collection site each year. With the population of Georgetown at around 50,000 (it was about 47,400 in the 2010 census and it’s only gotten bigger), something tells me there are a lot of people out there throwing their tree in the trash instead of getting it recycled.

I’ve got to believe the same is true for everyday recyclables. Our family does its best to put everything that can be recycled in the recycling cart provided us by our city. After we finally got unpacked from our cross-country move, I took three or four carloads of boxes to the collection center, where I had to pay $4 a carload to offload them. At first, I have to admit I was a bit taken aback about having to pay. You see, I came from Wisconsin, where the paper mill industry is huge and many of the local mills have dumpsters outside their facilities for residents to drop off paper and cardboard at all times. I guess I was a little spoiled by that, although $4 a carload certainly isn’t going to put me in the poor house either.

Our Christmas tree, sans decorations, was taken to our local collection center, where it will be turned into mulch.

Our Christmas tree, sans decorations, was taken to our local collection center, where it will be turned into mulch.

There are things I like better about our new city’s recycling policies though. In my old state, I could only recycle No. 1 and 2 plastics. Here, I can throw ALL plastics in the recycling cart. In my old state, things like tissue or pizza boxes couldn’t be recycled. Here, they can.

There is one thing here that bugs me though, and, that’s the way we’re asked to recycle plastic bags, films and cellophane. In order to recycle it, it has to go in what’s called a “Bag the Bag” yellow stuffer bag. You get two free ones each month and since the recycling is picked up every other week, the two bags usually work out fine. But here’s the problem: residents have to go to a place at the collection center to sign for and pick up the free bags.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for recycling everything that’s possible, but my guess is that many people are not going to make a special trip to the collection center to pick up these yellow bags once a month. If the city is really serious about wanting people to recycle, wouldn’t it make sense to make these bags available to residents at an outlet they visit frequently? Like, say, the grocery store? I would love it if the city would work with HEB, really the only true grocery store in Georgetown, to offer these bags at their service counters. Heck, I wouldn’t care if it was the big-box stores like Target or Walmart. Just so it’s a place that most people tend to visit on a regular basis.

Or, here’s another option. When the disposal company picks up the recycling every other week, what about simply throwing an empty stuffer bag into the empty recycling cart for the homeowner/resident to pick out and use? I’d go for either option – and I bet a lot of other residents would, too.

I firmly believe that everyone should do their part to recycle as much as possible. It’s the right thing to do — and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Along the way, anything municipalities can do to encourage it means less waste in our landfills and fewer people thinking that recycling is just a nuisance they don’t have time for.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “2015_Day 6: Could recycling be made easier?

  1. Shannon

    I loved the way they did things in some cities up north, particularly in Michigan and Massachusetts. There’s regular trash, recycling, and extra stuff. The regular trash guys would simply leave a bag where it is if any recycling was detected within, and you have to buy a special tag for pick-up of unusual items (like trees). The point is people to have to PAY for their landfill waste, making recycling the cheaper, easier option.

    Here, I pay $250/yr for curbside pick up (landfill) that I RARELY use. I only put out predominantly curbside recycling and compost everything else.

    Texas is very far behind other states when it comes to green waste. Unfortunately, it’s usually more convenient (and cheaper!) to just toss it into a hole in the ground.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. Shannon

        Somehow, officials need to make the “easy” way also the RESPONSIBLE way! Peoples’ behaviors — when they affect the environment which we all share — should be encouraged to be equitable for all. Hit ’em in the pocketbook, I like to say.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s