There is no question about it. The Left Coast is much more in step with making steps to be more environmentally aware than anywhere else where I have lived.
Visiting Burlington for Sam’s entry into the University of Vermont very much raised our awareness of the steps people can take. I posted some photos on Facebook during our orientation visit in June, 2013 where we saw trash centers that had multiple barrels for recycling and composting. Trash is termed “landfill” and perhaps that is a good term to use to get people to understand where it all is going. I also mentioned how the campus had banned selling water in bottles and offered numerous water stations where people could fill there own bottles, thereby reducing the use of plastic on the campus.
When I moved to Huntington, West Virginia I opted for recycling pick up and was surprised, but willing, to pay for the service. That service was poor, however and we cancelled after months when many pick-ups were no-show events. That company closed and the City was able to establish more recycling centers to make it more convenient for drop-offs. However, most people in Huntington, as well as when I lived in Nashville, Memphis, Pittsburgh, and West Hartford just don’t bother to recycle.
When we called WOW (Western Oregon Waste) to set up trash pick-up in McMinnville we were asked a number of questions to determine the size trash can that we needed. The service fee between a small and large bin was $5 a month so we opted for the large bin. We also requested a large recycling bin (no extra charge). Trash is picked up once a week; the recycling every other week. Watching the pick up last week was interesting…the truck pulled up to our can placed near the curb, extended the arm, lifted the can and dumped its contents into the truck, and then moved on. The driver and another worker in the cab never got out and the whole pick up took less than 10 seconds.
As you can imagine, we had a lot of boxes for this move and although I posted the empty boxes on Freecycle, I only got one response who took a few small boxes. We also loaded up a friend’s truck, as he plans to move the end of this year. However, we still had quite a bit of cardboard.
That needed to be taken to the recycling center. It is a huge place on a at least 10 acres of land. One part of it is used by the city’s trash and recycling trucks and the other two parts were open for residents to drop off…and pick up…recycled items.
There is one large area for yard debris and building materials. This is the area where residents can go buy compost or wood chips or even stone for walls.
Another area was where I dropped off the microwave that died and the mass of cardboard. Bins are available for glass (sorted by color), other paper products like books, textiles (I saw clothes and household linens), motor oil, car batteries and more.
One benefit of having a place to bring large items that are not usable is that people’s yards are not trash piles. Another benefit is that those items that are brought in for recycling are in turn processed to be reused in another manner.
|Recycle these items at The Recovery Zone:|
Fees apply for some WOW
*Some cities have opted to include these services in their residents’ trash rates
October 1, 2013 at 5:40 am
I was told by our recycle truck driver guy (waste management) that the only money waste management ever makes is in recycling metal, specifically aluminum cans and that the only reason they recycle everything else is out of their pure recycling environmental commitment. ?he said the co, loses money on the other stuff. I guess even a big company can do good 🙂
We have 2X a week pickup here and they provide the special containers for free.
October 1, 2013 at 10:04 am
I will get around to asking WOW about the financials, but they have been operating here for many many years. I heard at the City Council meeting last week that someone else was taking over the contract; I hope the services remain the same.
October 1, 2013 at 3:13 am
It is amazing to me how different parts of the country take recycling more seriously than others. I grew up in Vermont and recycled virtually everything, then I moved to western Colorado and have to work much harder to even find recycle bins.
October 1, 2013 at 10:02 am
Yes, and in some places I’ve lived the bins were small. Here, they are the same size as the trash bins. The point is, between recycling and composting, we SHOULD have less going to the landfill!!
September 30, 2013 at 7:53 pm
I recently saw something in the news saying that China has decided to quit taking our plastic recycle (which is where most of our recycled plastic was headed.) There was a discussion about what we might do to pick up the slack here in the states. I’m wondering how much harder this will make the recycling effort, Here in the boonies, the recycling is not as organized or convenient, but it’s still done to some extent.
September 30, 2013 at 10:21 pm
Someone recently posted on Facebook (always need to check for veracity and I did not on this) that Sweden was in a negative garbage situation because of how they process all their trash to produce energy. If that is true, sounds like there is technology that can take the trash we produce…talk about renewal resources!!!
September 30, 2013 at 11:25 pm
Yeah, but I suspect it’s just being easier or path of least resistance to ship the stuff off to China. Hope we find better alternatives.