Why is it so hard to recycle? Why is it so hard to rinse cans and bottles and place them in the recycling cart for Recology? Recology makes it easy. At our house we have a container with a lid that we can put all the recycling in until we are ready to take it out for pick up. Recology, the bin provider, also makes it easy to take care of biodegradable/ compostable materials. All we have to do is put them in a small stainless steel can with a cover by the sink and take them out every couple of days and put them in with the yard waste.
I know many people will say that not everything you put in recycling gets recycled, but why not try? Why not clean it up and put it in the right cart? How much of your precious time does that take?
We operate a vacation rental house. I have a binder with Recology instructions on the kitchen island along with a little framed sign that says, “Be clean, be green, please recycle.” And another framed sign on the kitchen counter with kitchen and check-out facts where I list what can be recycled too.
Does this work? Let me tell you that for 80 percent of our guests, no it does not. We are constantly doing our best, going through the trash and pulling out and rinsing as much recycling as we can. But, there are limits to how dirty I want to get. I would not even attempt to ask the guests to separate compostables, given the track record so far with recycling.
Now you may say, “Well these tourists, they are thoughtless, disgusting, privileged human beings, so what do you expect?” But, it is not just tourists, it is also my neighbors here in the Springs and I am assuming all over the rest of the county too. Once one of my elderly neighbors fell down when he was taking the trash out, and we went out to help him. After we got him up and back into his house, I went to pick up the spilled trash carts. It was all mixed together: Trash in recycling, recycling in trash, recycling and trash in yard waste, with no attempt to separate anything.
So what do we expect of Recology or any other waste company if everything ends up in the landfill, if we cannot do something as easy and simple as separating recycling from trash and yard/compostable waste?
On walks around the hood on trash pickup days, I see carts overflowing with mixed up trash and recycling. I see hunks of Styrofoam, old chairs, and plastic bags full of garbage in recycling carts, so full you can’t close the lid. I am going to guess locals are not much better at this than the tourists, based on what I see.
And here is my last rant on this subject; plastic water bottles. What is wrong with Sonoma Valley water? Why does anyone have to buy cases of 24 or more plastic water bottles? And then they cannot even dump the water out and put the things in the recycling cart. Both tourists and locals throw these bottles in with the trash.
If we are too lazy to do something this simple, how can we expect a greener world?