Recycling is an addiction. As I stand here this morning removing the little plastic tissue control thingy on the box of Kleenex so I can flatten the cardboard to put in the recycle bin, I understand just how far along I am in my addiction to it. Having recycled for nearly 20 years, I'm committed to it and can now never go back.
I literally bite my tongue when I watch my sisters throw something recyclable into their garbage. They say there's no place in their area to recycle, it costs money to recycle, or they don't have time.
And it takes time. Everything must be rinsed, caps and plastic labeling removed and thrown in the regular trash, cans, cardboard, and milk jugs flattented, newspaper, egg containers, cereal boxes, glass put in a separate bin altogether. That's the easy stuff and not even everything that Can be recycled. There's even recycling now for those plastic grocery bags, styrofoam meat trays, computer parts and have you seen what happens when you take old cabinets to the recycling center? They ask you if you want the pieces to go to Habitat for Humanity who will either use them or fix them up and sell them.
It's almost surreal, like an alternate universe out there of people committed to creating the smallest amount of landfill garbage possible. blackbyrd2 and I recycle 80% of our garbage and compost another 5%, coffe grounds go in the compost, but no meat based anything. An additional 5% we burn out back in the burn box, the content is anything that comes through the mail with our names on it. You know, those offers with account numbers and cards for savings - anything someone might pick out of the trash and use to steal our identity, as well as other paper based material that can't be recycled because it's dirty (pizza boxes). And we burn yard waste, but also drag a fair amount of that off to the recyclers too. It's chipped up and used to supplement supplies for roadside planting maintenance.
So what's in the garbage can? Very little. Mostly the plastics that cannot be recycled. Other gooey stuff that can't be composted. When I'm Queen, and get to design my new kitchen (in our new house, the retirement one), it's going to have a handy little recycling room - part of the Butler's Pantry.
There is no 12-step program for this.