I'm starting to look at my kitchen differently. What is not recyclable? Could I just be "wishful" and through everything into the recycling bin? The bags in cereal boxes confounded me today. What are these things made out of, and can they get recycled? That would feel great for me! I also know it causes more sorting. I found this cartoonish-but-great video today, and actually watched all 15 minutes. Bouncing cardboard is surprisingly meditative.
I have some take aways, and some lingering questions.
- I can recycle aluminum foil! I just need to clean it and ball it.
- I can't squish 3D objects like plastic bottles or beer cans!
- I can't recycle shredded paper, compost it! (I actually knew that one, surprise!)
- Ceramics and metal pans cannot be recycled!
- I can take clean, dry plastic bags to grocery stores!
- Broken glass is fine!
- Is there a size limitation on plastic things?
- What numbers of plastic are recyclable? I've heard that #5 is not.
- What happens when paper gets wet or sticky?
- When something has both plastic and cardboard, does it just get tossed out? Do those bits need to be separated? How about a beer can with a lime in it? And what are the consequences when these things get through?
I'll try to answer some of those questions and come back. Until then, enjoy the dizzying view of recyclables zooming by!
When I moved into North Aurora, I had the good luck of moving into the house of an avid gardener. There are a total of 5 raised bed gardens in our little city back yard, and two compost piles! I dug them up, and found lots of rich black soil and happy worms. So I put a 5 gallon bucket in our kitchen, and kept up the composting. Soon enough, we got chickens, and I got a good incentive to put the kitchen scraps out back before they got all moldy and smelly in the bucket. The chickens love sifting through the daily compost to pick out their favorite treats - broccoli stems, carrot tops, and bugs that I don't really want to think about. When I get those eggs with the vivid yellow yolks, I know it is worth it!
What still frustrates me is all of the waste that I can't break down in my dinky two by two foot pile. It is just too small for the difficult stuff. Avocado pits will never break down, lemon peels turn into the stinkiest mess imaginable, and any bones would just attract pests. Pizza boxes give me the most angst. I know they can't go into the recycling when they have cheese stuck to the bottom, but they are just so big. Do I really need to fill my entire trash can every time I have pizza? Usually they sit in my laundry room making me feel guilty until my fiance does something about it!
Our neighbors in Denver have a compost pickup service. Aurora, across the Yosemite st. border, has no service available. We also have some predatory trash providers. The City doesn't have trash as a service, so we all contract directly with the companies in the front range. My neighbor told me her provider raised their price from $50 to $120 with no warning! Their trash stayed the same at about 1 bag per week. She was fed up, and called them threatening to cancel. I pay about $70 every three months for something I don't even want to use. So I started dreaming. What if I picked up all compostables? I could bring them to a commercial composter, like A1 Organics. Then I could cancel trash! Someday I could even have a big compost pile of my own! I would get a lot more chickens. :)