Cleveland County Conservation District
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Helping People Reconnect To Our Environment


The Fine Art of Recycling Reclamation

Posted on June 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

  What inspires me to roll out of bed at 6 am on a Saturday morning?  My family, my garden and first pick at the Recycling Center.  And I'm not the only one doing it, that's why I have to roll out so early!

Now you have to be asking yourself, what could I possibly want at the Recycling Center enough that I would expose my dignity and ample backside to ridicule and scorn?  Answer....Plenty!

Paper - I will pull out magazines and books whenever I find them, some I will keep, the others I donate to libraries, hospitals, nursing homes and cancer centers.  I will also share a little secret with you.  Although several of my relatives who worship Ms. Manners, the Etiquette Queen, would be horrified to learn this....but I will pull out gift bags and reuse them.

Newspaper - What can I say.....I have animals. I shred it for my worm bins and as bedding for my rabbits, I also use it to line my bird cage.  I use it as a weed barrier and for composting. I have also been known to use it as wrapping paper, (that one has the approval of Ms. Manners, the Etiquette Queen as it is considered quite chic right now).

Cardboard -  Come on!  It's boxes....enough said.

Plastic - I have scored big in this area.  10 gallon tubs converted into worm bins or used for storage, 5 gallon Ozarka bottles as mini rain barrels for raised beds.  5 gallon kitty litter buckets with the lids still attached........GOLD!  I have found; buckets, small pots for seedlings and spray bottles for my own homemade cleaning supplies.

Tin Cans - I paint them to hold utensils or flowers for parties.  I have used the bulk size ones as planters for geraniums that I hung on the garden wall.  I have made rain chains, wind chimes and orange juice lids make great mini chalkboard magnets for your fridge as well as herb markers.

Glass - My personal favorite.  I have a "thing" about glass, I love it.  I use gallon wine jugs to serve punch or lemonade. I use them to contain my homemade soaps, I take colored bottles for bottle trees.  I have found cut glass vases and wonderful storage containers.

The Recycling Center is a shopper's paradise for me, but you could do some of your shopping in your own recycling container at home.  Check out what's in there and take out what could be reused, donated (books and magazines) or repurposed before you recycle.

If you are going to chance being seen removing things from the center's dumpsters, I want to leave you with some safety tips and final thoughts. First, don't try to retrieve anything while the trucks are there to pick up the recycling!  Don't EVER climb into the containers and NEVER send your children in your place.  I'm sure that you would consider these to be "common sense tips", but unfortunately I have seen it too many times not to mention it.

And a final warning...if you are waist deep in the glass container trying to pull out a beautiful blue bottle that is just out of your reach and you feel a tapping on your lower back, don't panic.  It's not the police or even Ms. Manners, the Etiquette Queen, it's probably a sponsor for the local chapter of Alcoholic Anonymous.  I'm still not sure that she believed me when I told her I wasn't looking for liquor but a bottle for a bottle tree.  But, now that she's heard it from me, she might believe you, or you might end up with her card, a disbelieving look and a sympathetic hug.  All in all, I think I handled the situation really well, right up until she walked off with my hard won bottle!  You win some and you loose some to other pickers!

-Chris Ward



Categories: Recycling, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Earth Friendly

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