Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Responsible refuse removal

I'm from Oregon, so I have a bit of a green streak. When I lived at home, it was easy to feel like I was being a good citizen of Planet Earth, because we had great curbside recycling service. We could recycle the usual cardboard and milk bottles, but they also picked up stranger things like scrap metal and used motor oil. Our family usually had more recycling than rubbish on refuse removal day, and that doesn't even count the yard debris recycling bins. Life was quite idyllic.

The honeymoon ended quite abruptly when I moved to Provo. Apparently they hand out recycling service in alphabetical order, and Portland used up so much recycling service that there was none left by the time they got down to Provo. As a result, I've felt like a sinner for the past several years. Every time I throw a can in the trash or toss a piece of paper, I feel a little guilty. There's pretty decent recycling service on campus, but the only place to get rid of waste at home is the despicable dumpster.

As penance, I've been helping my friend Ashley in her quest to get recycling service at our apartment complex. Right now there's a trash can by the mailboxes, and it fills up with paper every week. Ashley wanted to replace it with a recycle bin. I thought that was a great idea, so I decided to help her make it happen.

Well, it happened—or it will soon, anyway.

We can't actually take much of the credit. I emailed One Man's Trash to ask them where you take stuff to recycle in Provo, thinking that we'd just put our own bin out and then haul it off every so often. However, they emailed me back and said that they were planning to start providing recycling service at our apartment complex early next year. That was easy!

There will be a free recycle bin by the mailboxes, and there will be optional doorside collection service for $8/month per apartment (less than $2/person). I'd definitely sign up, if I weren't moving out soon.

I feel a little better now.


Gabe said...

Funny you mention it. This is what happened at our complex. An environmentally minded guy in our ward named Ammon bought two $70 recycling bins, announced at ward prayer that we are starting to recycle paper. I got interested and pitched in some money and then went to Smith's and bought 50 paper bags and printed out a little note that we stapled to them to let the apartment know what we can recycle, and then we handed them out. The recycling bins were just manually emptied about once a week until Ammon called Waste Management. He talked to their sales people and put them in touch with our management and we are getting a dumpster soon that will take unsorted plastic, cardboard, paper, and cans I think. This all happened in less than a month. It surprised me what a difference someone can make if they put their mind to it. I wish I was more ambitious like that

Gabe said...

Oh, the paper bags are makeshift recycling bins for each apt.

Gabe said...

And I think he said that the dumpster was going to be around $70 per month for the complex. Want his email? He may have some info for you and Ashley

Jonathan said...

I've suffered from the same guilt since I moved here. In California we all had recycle bins that were provided with the trash service also. If Ashley needs help when you have left us, I'd do it.

I See Badgers said...

Really bruce?! Recycling?! We all know its going into the furnace sooner or later, so why categorize it? pff.

ps: this is a joke. And no, I don't wear fur coats:)

Unknown said...

In defense of Utah, please don't equate Provo to ALL Utah. Although the state overall is not as good about recycling as some other states, there are areas that are conscious of it, including where I grew up.

And ya'll think YOU feel guilty when you throw away cardboard; my mom is a recycling nut, so I always see her shaking her head if she could see the contents of my garbage can. My parents moved out to a little town in Utah where they did not offer recycling for about the first two years they were there--there weren't even any drop-off places in town. She was so determined to recycle, she would save it all up and then when she would drive in to SL to see my sister she would take it and put in in Katy's recycling bin. Let's just say she celebrated when Grantsville started offering recycling!