Earth Day: Recycling Update

12 Apr

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It’s been about two weeks since I started my recycling challenge and it really hasn’t been that life-altering.  I haven’t been to the recycling center yet.  So far I only have about 4 plastic containers and one wine bottle in my regular recycle bin.  I have, however, filled two paper bags full of paper recycling, which lead me to take another approach to that aspect of my experiment.

Recycling is great, but it would be even better if the material that I’m sending to the recycling bin never existed in the first place.  Reducing the amount of paper that’s coming into my home is now a priority.  Last weekend, I sat down to begin this process.

I don’t always pick up my mail, but when I do, it’s mostly ads.

As far as I can tell, there’s no way to completely empty your mailbox of trash.  Despite my best efforts, all that newsprint addressed to “Current Resident” will still find its way into my mailbox.  While I will have to deal with my Ralph’s ads and PennySaver, I found a way to eliminate that ubiquitous Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as other target advertising.

I used the app PaperKarma (available on IOS and Android) to take a picture of the ad, with bar code, addressed to me.  The app then takes that information and removes you from the company’s mailing list.  Of course it will take a few weeks, but it’s a great start.  I even discontinued my beloved KnitPicks magazine.  The next thing I did was unsubscribe from Entertainment Weekly.  It seems I’ve been entertaining myself so much lately I haven’t had a chance to read it, so it didn’t make the cut.  That’s 50ish issues (about 1/3 of those unread) that won’t be necessary to recycle.

Some of the things I subscribed to I will miss a little.  I like getting coupons and catalogs in the mail.  Remember that I=PAT equation though?  In the past, if you wanted to get coupons or browse magazines you were stuck with paper.  Now, the T in IPAT (technology) has made it possible to enjoy those things without the destruction of a single splinter.  I signed up for Bed, Bath  & Beyond coupons via text.  If you have a tablet you can subscribe to magazines online, or even rent them from the library (ask your library if they offer Zinio).  You can flip through catalogs on your iPad.  While we can’t all afford iPads (I don’t have one) or smart phones, having them doesn’t just allow you the opportunity to play Angry Birds.  It can also take the place of unsustainable practices.

I promise by the end of the month I’ll actually get to that recycling center.  While I have found ways around it, I’ve decided that  my challenge isn’t complete without it.  Here’s to first steps!



One Response to “Earth Day: Recycling Update”


  1. Earth Day: All In One Place | Without a Map - August 27, 2014

    […] 10, Earth Day: Being a Conscious Consumer April 11, Earth Day: Reduce, Reduce, Reduce April 12, Earth Day: Recycling Update April 13, Earth Day: Throwback April 14, Earth Day: Room by Room in the Kitchen April 15, Earth […]

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