We have been living in the ‘burb for about 2 weeks now. There are some things that are nice (we have a bigger yard – or a yard at all, the library and civic center here is very nice, and there are a TON of city swimming pools) but some things that I have trouble getting used to.
One of these things is the recycling program in the city of Richardson.
In Dallas, we had 2 cans in the back of our house – 1 for trash and 1 for recycling. The recycling one was blue, and we just threw all our recyclables in it: paper, cardboard, plastics, metal, and glass. No sorting, just throw it all in. We barely threw away one bag of actual trash/garbage per week. All the rest of the things we used were recyclable.
Here in Richardson, they don’t use trash cans at all, for either trash or recycling. You throw your loose trash bags in the alleyway. They will not pick up any trash that is in trash cans at all, even if you buy your own trash can. I was kind of horrified at this, it looks really tacky. Just throwing what is basically loose trash back there? Ick!
Their recycling is also done in bags – blue bags. You have to purchase (pay for!) a roll of blue bags (which I am pretty sure never biodegrade), and put your recyclables in the blue bag.
However, they only take: some plastics, glass, and aluminum. No paper, no cardboard of any kind. Fortunately, the magnet school down the street has a bin where you can drop off paper only, such as your mail and magazines and newspaper. It’s a nice program because the school gets paid for all the material that is recycled.
What is driving me crazy is the cardboard! I never realized how much cardboard we recycled before. All kinds of food comes in cardboard boxes (crackers, cereal, even seitan has a cardboard outer). There are cardboard inserts in your clothing. Toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls. Not to mention the boxes we have left over from moving that can’t be saved because they’ve survived so many moves they’ve fallen apart. And the empty kitty litter boxes… I could go on and on.
We have gone from generating only one bag of trash/garbage per week to around 4 bags. And I can’t use the earth-friendly kitchen trash bags I was using before because I have to use bags thick enough to withstand being outside in the weather while waiting for the trash pickup.
Not only am I generating more trash, but I am being forced to package it in bags that will pretty much never biodegrade. I am not going to lie to you, this is actually really difficult for me to get used to!