Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A world without recycling....

     For those of you that do not know, I am from Maine. I grew up recycling everything that we could. 'Dump' runs were my favorite because I got to run around throwing stuff into their respective bins and then my Dad and I would go look in what I called "The Barn". Real creative right? This barn was full of junk. Luckily, I was a kid who LOVED junk (thanks to my Dad) so I tended to pick up books, bikes, and who knows what else and run home with it.

      I feel like the town I grew up in, for a small town in Maine (pop. ~ 6,000), was pretty progressive when it came to recycling. They even charged people 2.00 a trash bag, which caused people to be less likely to throw away what could be recycled. For my undergraduate college years, I stayed in the New England/ Canada area and always experience people and towns who embraced recycling. Then, I move to Arkansas, where I am completing my graduate studies, and was opened up to a whole new world... one without recycling.

      When I arrived in Arkansas, one of the first questions I asked my landlord was where the recycling center was. She did not even laugh, just stared at me blankly. So, I explained further what I was talking about. Then she did laugh!! Luckily though, she was able to tell me of the place in town that would recycle cardboard and bottles. This was better than nothing.

      My next step was to ask where recycling was on campus. I had never been to a campus without recycling!! This was definitely my first. After trying to get people to start up recycling, I became known as the recycling Nazi to the other graduate students. The first day I met one of the graduate students, who happens to know be one of my closest friends, she went to throw some paper in the trash and I was appalled. If you can picture that slow motion cartoon where someone jumps across the room to stop something yelling "NOOOOOOO!" then you can picture what she was seeing. She has made fun of me ever since this episode, but she does recycle!

 Not too pretty, but this is the set-up I have. I take the recyclables away about once every two weeks!

Just a close up of my message to people..... pleading with them to recycle!

      I have not been able to do much to 'fix' the situation yet when it comes to recycling, but what I have done is set up recycling centers in the 2 graduate offices on campus. You can see a picture of this above. I know this does not sound like much at all, but I would say my message here is that every little bit counts and do not be afraid to indicate to someone that they should recycle! I think if more people spoke up about recycling, then more people would partake. Many times, such as with the situation I am in, people just do not know what recycling is. Meaning, they know the term but they have never truly been taught how easy it is to do it. So, sometimes it just takes that little push and you would be amazed how many people are willing to learn.

         If you get a chance, go check out VerdantViolet's blog because I noticed that she had a guest blogger write a really cool blog about recycling. She found herself in a similar situation as mine and decided to reduce her recycling. You can check that out by following this link:

        I invite you to leave comments and would love to hear your experiences with recycling! More green whispers soon to come! :)

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I was planning to comment and tell you to check out my blog post today since it's also about recycling, but obviously you've already seen it! Thanks so much for linking. I'm from California, and I recently lived in Texas (as did my friend Amy, the guest blogger) and had the same issue you had in Arkansas with recycling being next to impossible. It was such a relief to move to Minnesota and start recycling with gusto again! :) I'll be listening for green whispers. :)