"reduce, reuse, re-diculous"

I surely must have shared at some point that our neighbors don’t recycle? I only discovered this by asking him one Thursday night as we dragged the barrels to the curb if it was “Recycle Night.” His retort was a feisty “oh we don’t do that expletive.” Mine was an emphatic “you don’t recycle???” Mrs. Sucktacular was obviously outside, as one would have to be when they see two neighbors close enough to perhaps maybe share dialogue. You can only observe so much from inside. She chuckled (and possibly snorted) loudly from across the street. I bored holes into the back of her head as she turned to catch up to her cat – which they only let outside supervised, standing over it in the yard like an impatient dog owner waiting for their pooch to “go already.”

This statement has stayed with me. Recycling has become a really important part of the McCashews day to day. We keep a big bin right in the kitchen for all the recyclables and even Steve is getting better about using it. He can always be counted on for soda cans and beer bottles, but lately I have noticed that he will rinse a soup can for me or put a yogurt cup in there. There was a time that we did not have a recycling pick-up and during that time I am very ashamed to share that we did not recycle at all. Not a pop can, not a beer bottle, not a thing. It was “too hard.” With a biweekly pick-up we now recycle milk bottles, toothbrushes, magazines (and trust me we get plenty), little tiny yogurt cups, condiment containers from take-out. I even started separating the deposit recycling from the regular recycling because it always makes me feel strange to have the can man come by and rustle through my stash. Neighborling from next door of the non-recycling variety once came to my door to inform me that a man had taken things from my trash. That was when I told her about recycling and she told me her father said it was the devil’s work. (I AM kidding, but it is not so far fetched.)

I really like recycling. I know it is a strange thing to like, but I really enjoy it. It makes me feel good. I know I am late on this and some of you reading are saying, "HELLO, I stopped using paper towels ten years ago and I collect rain water for garden use." Allow me to be a little late to the eco party. Better late than never.

I especially like that my daughter knows what things go into the garbage and what things go into the bin. I really enjoy when she helps me sort it for the pick-up and wants her own cloth to wipe the sticky soda scum. I look forward to her being able to raise her hand in science class when the teacher asks whose family recycles. Yet, I still question whether or not I would keep up at this pace if the service did not literally drive itself by my door. At this point, I would have to hope that it has become such a part of our daily life that I would actually drive it in, sort through it all painstakingly myself if need be, and I would bring my daughter along for the ride to see the piles and piles of recycled items not taking up spaces in landfills. I hope I would.

I look next door and think that our recycling is not even coming close to making up for the four full bins of trash that Neighbor Loon puts out each week. That makes me sad, like we can’t get ahead. I am on an eco-kick – aren’t we all these days? I think it is part fear, part regret, and part hope.

I fear for the future if we don’t make changes.
I regret that it has taken until now for me to take it seriously coupled with the guilt that accompanies using disposable diapers which is both heavy and deep.
I have hope that these small changes will lead to bigger changes and that by setting this precedent for Caroline, I might alter the next generation’s viewpoint.

With spring in the air I am already writing a new to do list; fixing that scary falling down fence, repairing that pipe that burst, and expanding last year's container garden. This year I have other plans too. I want to start a compost pile. Lord knows with the toddler there are plenty of table scraps going to waste. I would also like to add a very small vegetable garden to our yard. Caroline would enjoy tending it, trampling it and possibly even eating from it. Small steps. I cannot wait to hear what looney toons neighbor has to say about all this, but I am sure both I and Mrs. Suck will get an earful.


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