I consider myself a staunch environmentalist. I’ve been active in environmental battles for most of my adult life. When recycling became a major issue, I was out there with my banner preaching against the curse of our American habit of Make It, Use It, then Throw It Away. I’ve made posters and presented lectures on the value of matching nature’s circular, let-nothing-go-to-waste process. So, imagine my shame when I realized that I had become complacent about the value of recycling.
I can make excuses. After all, I moved here from a city where my recyclables were picked up at the curb. What? You mean I must take my recyclables to a recycling center 10 miles away?!? That could take me as much as half an hour a month! But suffering soul that I am, I did it. The only problem was that, over time, I was recycling less and less and not really giving much thought to the Reuse, Recycle, Reduce mantra. And I wasn’t staying current with what is recyclable at our local recycling center. And I was way behind the times regarding the effect of plastics in our landfills and our lives.
It was clearly time to revive my environmental spirit and Think Globally, Act Locally. I learned what was currently recyclable at the Fort Payne Recycling Center. I learned that the center is clean, well-organized, open 24/7, and it accepts a lot more items than one might think. I talked with the manager of the center, Theresa Stone, and found her to be knowledgeable, helpful, and dedicated to recycling. I studied the plastic recycle resin codes and learned why they are so important. With a little bit of research and a lot of helpful hints from Theresa and from websites like Earth911.com, I have been able to reduce my household waste stream by more than half.
So, once again, I’ll raise my environmental banner and ask that you search your own recycling soul. Do you know what is recyclable locally right now? Do you know whether you can put that oil-stained pizza box into the cardboard bin? Do you know whether the recycling center now takes wide-mouthed plastic bottles? Do you know how to tell whether the plastic bottle cap can be recycled with the bottle? Are you unconsciously throwing away things that could be recycled? And when it comes to plastics, are there better choices than recycling?
Come to Moon Lake Community Library on Saturday, September 14, at 12:30 p.m. and I’ll answer these questions and more. You’ll learn some valuable information and laugh while you’re doing it (think “recycling fashion show”). And you’ll be doing the yourself and the earth a favor.