I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Recycling and more recycling...

This afternoon I had two foil garlic bread wrappers, a foil chip bag, and various other items of soft plastic taking up a healthy amount of real estate on my counter.  I have sinced rinsed out the foil and turned them upside down to dry and then I can put them in my bin under the counter.  Except the bin under my counter that holds the soft plastic and foil is overflowing so I guess I will have to finally give in and take the bin to the garage. (Sigh)

We, along with several other families I know, recycle almost everything.  My lovely husband humours me and participates in the recycling although if there is rinsing and drying to be done it is usually my job.  He actually chose washing dishes over dealing with the foil!  If you know where to look for information you will find that almost anything can be recycled.  I have read a couple of articles over the years about people who have one small bag of garbage per month, or one small bag per year.  I cannot claim to be this diligent at recycling, and I could probably make some better choices as far as buying food with less packaging.  However, our family of four has one garbage can (not completely full) every two weeks.  I see some houses with two garbage cans parked at the end of their driveway every two weeks.

You have your regular curbside pickup, which takes many items including glass, metal cans, paper, etc.  We also do our kitchen/yard waste pickup with reFuse as I mentioned in a previous post.  That takes care of all food items, paper napkins/towels, paper plates, etc.  For a full list of acceptable materials check out their website at http://www.refuse.ca/.  Prior to starting the composting I found out about Syntal (http://www.syntalproducts.com/).  This is a company that recycles rigid plastic into plastic lumber for benches, planters, lawn and garden edging...the list goes on.  Before curbside recycling took plastic milk jugs we sent our stuff out to their facility.  I still direct my hard plastic recycling to them despite the fact that the Capital Regional District (CRD) has been taking it curbside for several years. 

Within the last couple of years I also learned about Pacific Mobile Depots (http://www.pacificmobiledepots.com/).  This website is definitely worth a look if you are interested in increasing your recycling.  The range of electronics and other materials they take is fantastic.  You may have noticed one of their roving depot locations at Reynolds Secondary School or Fernwood Community Centre.  They have 10 in Victoria as well as 4 locations in the Metro Vancouver area.  If you have the space and you want to save up your recycling they offer pickups as well.  We recycle our styrofoam meat trays, styrofoam packing material, soft plastic, and foil.  I purchased a couple of wire frames from Canadian Tire, put the large, clear, plastic bags over them and store them in a corner of the garage.  It is rather amazing how quickly the soft plastic collection grows.  Yes you have to pay to take your items to the roving depots, or for a pickup, but I find the prices to be very reasonable.  Also, as the prices are all listed on their website there is no surprises.

If you do not see what you are looking for on the Pacific Mobile Depots website check out this link to a CRD recyclopedia (http://myrecyclopedia.ca/).  You can enter the item you are trying to recycle, or click on the "Products A-Z".  Pick an item and you will get an "environmental story" as well as information on where you can take it for recycling.  Everything from mattresses and box springs to plastic motor oil containers and carpet underlay is listed on this site.

I am not afraid to say that sometimes I find recycling to be a large pain in the ass.  However, recyling options are becoming more prolific and it does not take a lot of effort to find a home for your unwanted items.  Perhaps you feel that just one household cannot make that big of a difference.  Try setting aside everything that is recyclable for a week, or a month.  Then you will see what your efforts can accomplish.  Tell your friends and before you know it there will be plenty of households keeping tonnes of recyclable materials out of the landfill.

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