Monday, October 31, 2011

The Art of Recycling--Trash and Books

At my house, Recycling is almost a religion. The process is all due to my husband's plan, but I'm very much into it, too. Now that we've done this a few years, I'd feel sacrilegious and sinful if I did not continue and do the best we can.

The process would not be possible is not for Green Guy Recycle out on the highway, behind a Farm and Ranch store and Goodwill. The business began small. The big ticket item was soft drink cans. They'd pay a few cents per pound, and this was an incentive for many people. Now, the place is enormous, with bins that come and go on a huge flatbed trucks. Imagine small boxcars.

So, now, in our garage, we have a bin for papers--including newspapers and cereal boxes--cardboard boxes broken down, tin cans (always rinsed after the dishes are cleaned), aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass jars and bottles, and a few other odd items. The user must sort into the proper bin. Example--for glass bottles there's a bin for green ones, brown ones, clear ones, and yellow ones. The bars in town do a good job of recycling. We've often seen a truck pull up and out comes box after box of beer and liquor bottles. Good for them.

We take most of our plastic bags back to the supermarket where we got them (I keep a few for specific purposes.) But! We barely have any now, because we bought a dozen reusable bags. Now that we're used to them, we prefer them. They're easier to carry, and with a cardboard bottom, sit flat. And each hold the amount for about three plastic bags.

Now, here's the problem with recycling. We always have a few items we either cannot recycle or don't want to (no way will I wash a plastic peanut butter jar). So, we always have one small plastic bag of "trash" that goes to Green Guy with us every other week, and goes in their humongous trash bin. Isn't that great?

NOTICE in the title I included Books. I abhor seeing books taken to the dump, but that's what happens to books on store shelves when the book vendor comes by. Prints have a certain shelf life. A Harlequin, for example, has a 60 day shelf life (am I right?) When the vendor visits Wal-Mart, he must remove the books over 60 days old. Later, he'll tear off the covers and the book part goes to the city dump. (I do not think they recycle the paper, but perhaps they do.)

I'd love some of those books to go to the library free book shelf, or the senior citizen's apartment complex that has a recreation room with book shelves, or to our service men and women in foreign lands.

Better yet, let's just go straight to POD and be rid of the previous process of printing a certain hundred thousand. Another good place we have in town is a Half-Price Book Store. This is a chain in Texas that has now spread to a few states. The store buy books from the customer, and everything in the store is half the original price. I don't use it so much anymore because of digital books and my Kindle.

Please note that I am NOT advocating publishers to go fully digital. Nope. I still want my books in print. But here's a wonderful thing for books that are out-of-date and the rights returned to the author. Now, these books can be recycled into digital books!

What wonderful possibilities we have now to recycle, reuse, or re-own to keep things out of our city dumps. And to give new life to books.

Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. We have four bins which are collected weekly or fortnightly by the local council - one for cans and bottles, one for paper and card, one for garden and food waste, and the smallest one for non-recyclable stuff.

    Agree with you that books shouldn't be trashed, far better that they should be recycled somehow e.g. seniors' home, even charity shops.

    And I'm about to 'recycle' one of my out-of-print books (published in 1980) by doing a total rewrite of it for NaNoWriMo!

  2. In my part of Scotland we are now big on recycling. All the household things you mentioned can be picked up by the door-to-door council service, or taken to special recycling depots. Children's books and school textbooks are locally collected and sent to needy places by charities eg(Africa, Romania...) So far I've never heard anyone propose to send to books to point of source for recycling but I think its an amazing idea though the practicality would be quite a challenge.

  3. Hi, Paula--We could pay for curbside recycling, but they only take a few items--newspapers, aluminum cans, and glass bottles.And the bin is small. We couldn't recycle everything we want to because of the limited space.
    Yes, books--I've been in Wal-Mart when the book vendor is there, ripping the covers off those books. It makes me nauseous to see that.
    And see! Isn't that great that you can recyle one of your books??

  4. NANCY--I love that textbooks and children's books are taken to schools in other countries. I think some of that goes on from here--I see a story on TV once in a while of people collecting items to transport here or there.
    It's a huge problem, that of getting rid of garbage and unwanted items.
    I think if everyone would take care of his own little acre, the world would be a better place. Thanks for your comment.

  5. We have separate bins for aluminum cans and cardboard/paper that our trash company picks up each week. Beverage bottles and cans are taken back to the grocery store since we pay a .05 deposit on them--you get that money back when you return them.

    I hope no one ever throws away a book that is still in good enough condition to read. Libraries will gladly take them for their book sales, and women's shelters, hospitals and nursing homes are glad to get them as well, not just for their patients but for those who may be there with an ill loved one.

    As for my peanut butter jars--I don't wash them either. I give them to my dog and he cleans them for me, LOL, it's one of his favorite treats.

  6. Nic--I don't have a dog, but I do have a lot of deer who love our place. That's how I get rid of vegetable matter, stale bread, etc. I throw it in the back, away from the house, and they'll clean that up for me. Maybe I'll try a peanut butter jar next.
    Some places here will take a few books, but I can think of places who might like to have some but don't.
    Our library has a used book sales twice a year, so that's good.
    It's all those books on store shelves that get trashed that bother me.
    I'm glad to hear of people recycling. I know a lady who says, "My time is worth more than wasting it on recycling." Now, that is just unforgivable.
    Thanks for your comment.

  7. Just took a car full of recycling today. Aluminum cans benefit the animal shelter. Otherwise, only #1 and #2 plastics, newspaper, and corrugated cardboard accepted. Plastic bags can go back to store, and I use the cloth ones anyway. Can't find anyone to take glass, misc cardboard, or tin cans. I cringe every time I have to throw away something that won't recycle--but should!

  8. I love that you recycle, Celia. We do, but not as much as you. We stopped taking the newspaper and my husband reads it online. We save soft drink cans, but have cut way back on how many we drink in favor of water. Our rural trash pickup doesn't include recyclables. There are paper bins at the library and a guy on the edge of town who buys soft drink cans. My husband gives ours to a man who needs some extra income (who doesn't these days).

  9. JUDY--Sometimes we do only what is available. I just know so many lazy people who think it takes too much time,etc. But when you're organized, it's easy and becomes a habit.
    But if you have no place to recycle on your own, it's just impossible. So, yes, you cringe...but remember you're doing what you can. That's a lot.
    Thank you for coming by...

  10. Caroline--it's tougher in a rural zone. We're like being in the country, but right on the edge of town. We do have trash and recycle service out here, but we were paying around 75 dollars a month for them to pick up a piddling amount. We never filled out bin....because of the recycling. So we dropped the service, and figure out how to get rid of everything on our own.
    I give my husband credit. I would probably still be doing it the lazy way--chunk it in the trash--if it were not for him.
    He's much more aware of things than I--and loves to save money!!!

  11. Recycling is slowly trickling to coastal Ga. We now have the option of paying about $4 a month to have curbside recycling. We didn't make the choice and I feel guilty about that. There's no facility within 15miles that would take our recylcables and we don't have a garage to collect stuff.

    No matter how you look at recycling, you end up feeling guilty. Why should only the rich be able to afford recycling?


  12. MAGGIE--You have a great point. Recycling is easy...if it's convenient. And it is for us--the center is in "a line" of places we go on Wednesdays. Since we live outside the city limits--although not far--and because we like to conserve gasoline--we try to consolidate trips into town and across the Interstate--where some of these places are: library, supermarket, Green Guy, Goodwill, and Utopia, commonly called Wal-Mart!
    We tried paying for curbside, but the bin was very small. Plus, they wouldn't pick it up if we put papers in the bin and then it rained! A big headache we got rid of.