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H.O.W. to help the World through recycling

Updated on February 12, 2013
Our Cardboard recycle container. Not fancy, but it gets the job done!
Our Cardboard recycle container. Not fancy, but it gets the job done!
Containers for paper and newspapers, including magazines.
Containers for paper and newspapers, including magazines.
Free mulch for those who need it.
Free mulch for those who need it.
Aluminum cans and other aluminum items.
Aluminum cans and other aluminum items.
Tin cans and assorted metals
Tin cans and assorted metals
Area for glass, seperated by colors into green, brown, and clear. There is a location for emptied candle glass as well.
Area for glass, seperated by colors into green, brown, and clear. There is a location for emptied candle glass as well.
Barrells for shipping peanuts and shopping bags.
Barrells for shipping peanuts and shopping bags.
Our plastics container. We recycle only #1 and #2 plastics. Examples include milk, cola, water, and shampoo containers, among other items.
Our plastics container. We recycle only #1 and #2 plastics. Examples include milk, cola, water, and shampoo containers, among other items.
Books, egg crates, and even toys - all free for the taking.
Books, egg crates, and even toys - all free for the taking.

Today, my wife Tina and I took a trip to our local Recycling Center. It is not too far away from where we live, perhaps 5 miles or so. We gather up and collect all of our items which can be recycled and save them for our trip, which we usually take every week or so. At our peak, we were a family of seven, and with that many in one household, you can imagine the amount of waste products that are produced.Tina decided we needed to do something with the trash we had, so she drafted me to help separate the items we could recycle, and that which we could not.

A trip to the local recycle center allowed us to see what could be recycled. Newspapers, papers, cardboard, aluminum cans, foil, and trays, tin cans and other metals, plastic certified as number 1 and 2 by the recycle emblem, plastic shopping bags, glass, and Styrofoam packing were among the items accepted. In addition to these items, you could drop off broken or damaged electronics such as speakers and televisions, computer terminals and other electronics. Every now and again, they will host a tire drop off free of charge in order to encourage citizens to bring in their old car and truck tires. These will be used to create things such as flooring, footwear, landscape items, rubberized asphalt, and even earth friendly houses.

There is a section of the recycling center set aside for other, more immediate use items like egg crates, toys, movies, and even books! You can bring any of these items in and set them on shelves that have been set up for this purpose. I have been fortunate enough to find first editions of some wonderful books to add to my collection. Books such as From Here to Eternity, The Robe, and even a Winnie the Pooh book for my son. I have taken some of my books which I no longer wanted and donated them for others to enjoy. There is also mulch to be had from trees and limbs cut down by the citizens of the city and the various city workers and utility companies. These have been placed into a mulching machine, and the mulch placed at the center for all to use free of charge. As a matter of fact, all of the facilities are for use free of charge, which makes it no problem for people to use. No excuses, people.

Our weekly trash that is picked up is down to two 13 gallon bags for a family of six now. We recycle almost twice as much as we throw away, and by looking at the amount of people at the center when we go, others have joined us in our attempt to limit the amount of trash we dispose of. There are many estimates to show how much trash an average person in the United States produces on a daily basis. In the mid Sixties, the estimate ran to just over 2 pounds per person per day. In the late Eighties, than number had doubled to 4 pounds per person per day. Today, that number has escalated to around 5 pounds per person per day. With the population of the country in excess of 300,000,000 people, one can see just how quickly we can be overwhelmed by trash if we do not do something about it, and soon. If we do not, we will be up to our armpits in trash, and what kind of legacy is that to leave your children and grandchildren.

How many of you have seen the movie WALL-E? The movie about the little robot left alone on Earth long after its population has gone into space and left a team of robots to clean up its mess was an eye opener for a lot of people. Some who saw it did not get the underlying messages of the direction the human race is going, coupled with the vast consumerism and disposable society we are becoming. When I first saw it, I was struck by the vision of a completely trashed Earth, not too far removed from the vision put forth in Planet of the Apes. Mankind destroys the Earth in its selfish and egocentric manners in both films, but WALL-E takes us to a different level; that being exactly where we are right now. For those who saw it, do you remember the seemingly innocent ways the humans failed to interact with one another? Setting behind computer screens, completely out of touch with what went on around them. Their bodies had become obese and without muscle tone enough to walk. Media controlled their every mood, even to the point of what their favorite color was.

I know I have gone off on a tangent here, but my intent was for you to see where we are currently at, and where we are headed. While I am not saying we will end up like the situation in the movie, can any of you doubt we are not moving in that direction? For those who live in large cities along the coasts, such as New York, is it not a normal sight to see barges heaped with trash chugging along along the rivers and bound for the open sea? They are carrying the 12,000 TONS of garbage created each day in New York, and are bound for other states to dump in their landfills. What will happen when those landfills are full? It is becoming more and more difficult to grant a license to operate a landfill, and the time will come when there is nowhere left to put it.The trash barge Mobro 4000 towed a barge full of over 3,000 tons of New York City garbage to Belize and back,covering 112 days before it was brought back to New York and incinerated. We cannot continue to burn our trash, and we cannot just keep digging a hole and throwing it in. We must find a way to minimize and eventually eliminate our waste products lest we face the fate of Mankind as those in the movie did; just load up on a spaceship and leave all of our crap behind for someone else to clean up.

That is not the answer. Help us to spread the word concerning recycling. Do your part to pull the items which can be recycled out of the trash and take it to a center specializing in this. If your locale does not have a recycling center, join together with others of your community and demand one be put in place. We cannot afford to continue to create this problem without searching for a solution. For our children's sake, do your part.

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It makes an incredible difference recycling. Here on the west coast, we are kind of fanatics when it comes to recycling. I would say I don't understand why everyone doesn't recycle, but sure I do....it takes a little effort. :) Good job, Mike!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      That is commendable. You gather up all of your would be recycled items and drive them miles to a recycling center. All I need to do is open my back door and toss my cans and bottles and paper goods in my recycling bins and once a week set them by the road.

      How easy it is to make a difference. Thanks for sharing this...

      Sending you many Angels today :) ps

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

      Many towns and cities have curbside recycling service. Kalamazoo does, but not for the house converted into apartments where I live, so every so often I take a car load to the nearest recycling center.

      The town I lived in that had the best recycling service was Marquette, Michigan. It not only had a recycling center and a yard waste center but also a town compost pile. During warm weather months, restaurants could put out green buckets vegetable scraps for weekly pickup and householders could bring their kitchen vegetable scraps to the compost pile. County residents could get compost free or very cheap. I think the town compost pile is still in operation.

      Plastic bags are a special problem. So is Styrofoam, which many recycling centers won't take.

      There is always room for improvement in a family's, a town's, a school's, a building's, or a company's reduce, reuse, recycle plan, so that set of problems is a good one for citizen involvement.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Bill, I knew you had to be a recycler. Those on the West Coast are generally ahead of those of us in the middle of the country. It does take a modicum of effort, but the results are definitely worth it. Thanks for stopping by, my Friend.

      pstraubie48, thank you for the visit and comment. I know there are cities which have curbside recycle pickup, and it was tried here but too many refused to seperate the items. So it went away, until a grassroots movement got a center put in to use. Every time we go, there are people there; sometimes we even have to wait because there is nowhere to park. My wife Tina is the primary person who pushes it here in our house, and I take my lead from her. She's pretty smart, except she fell for me. I have to wonder about that choice... I can be kind of hardheaded sometimes.

      B. Leekley, I appreciate your stop and comment as well, and I especially appreciate the share. I also applaud you for taking your items to the recycle center. It is definitely worth the effort. I am amazed at the opportunities you had in Marquette. What a wonderful idea having a community compost pile! Regarding plastic bags and styrofoam, our center takes both. I know our local big box store I shall not name has a location for those bags, to be used over and over again.

      Thank you all for reading this Hub and feeling strong enough to recycle. Together we are making a difference. Now we need to spread the word to those who still haven't joined us. Have a great day, all!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I actually throw away one small trash bag a month. The rest of it goes to the recycling center, or in the ground as compost/fertilizer.

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Outstanding job, avian! We need more like you. Thank you for all that you do for our world.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Here! Here! The content of your hub, Mr. Archer, is most appropriate and timely. I think I'll email it to our local city council--a small town, but part of the ecosystem nonetheless. I'll email some editing suggestions to help improve readability a bit. --Blessings

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      I couldn't find an email prompt, so here are a few suggestions:

      separate [Note: "a" after the "p"]

      than [the] number

      In the mid Sixties [60s], the estimate ran to just over 2 [two] pounds per person per day. In the late Eighties[80s] (The rule is that numbers ten and under are generally spelled out; those over are written in Arabic. The exception is in scientific or statistical writing, where numbers are accompanied with a symbol or abbreviation.)

      what kind of legacy is that to leave your children and grandchildren[?]

      in the movie,[but] can any of you doubt

    • Mr Archer profile image
      Author

      Mr Archer 4 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Marie, both for the comment and the critique of my work. I always enjoy learning and the attempt to improve my works. Have a great day!

    • plusoneday profile image

      Tina Sharp 4 years ago from Joplin, Missouri

      This message is for Marie Flint from West Branch, Michigan. I am sure Mr Archer appreciated your comment on his hub article, but he maybe a tad to reserved with his feedback. I on the other hand did not find it necessary that you felt the need to give him a lesson on how to "improve his readability a bit." Mr Archer is a level VI commenter or for you a level six commenter. As you are a level three commenter I am sure there are many things you may learn from him. Let us all remember that hubs are to be enjoyed and not a place to critique ones work like an old schoolmarm. Happy recycling everyone!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Great article. I recycle what I can. If you have a compost bin, you can add your newpaper and light weight cardboard products to it. Tear them up into small pieces or shred them and add to the mix. It's a great way to recycle paper products.

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