On a summer trip to Canada, I was stopped in my tracks with the realization of how far my family falls short with our recycling efforts. I opened my friend’s kitchen cupboard to look for the trashcan. Instead of the doublewide I have at my home, her trashcan is the size of a small pail, the kind a child might use collecting shells at the beach. First I was surprised, and then came a rush of guilt. I thought we recycled! The difference is that our friends recycle absolutely everything—plastic, paper, glass—and they have a compost pile. That tiny bucket in their cupboard held only true trash: un-recyclable items.
Fell off the wagon When we moved to Houston, we discovered our neighborhood didn’t promote recycling, and we fell to just recycling paper. I come from a strong line of recyclers–my dad had us crushing aluminum cans and rolling newspapers logs for the fireplace ever since I was a little girl. And, during the fifteen years we lived in England, we joined in with a dedicated nation of fierce recyclers. When we returned from Canada, I realized we needed to get back to recycling, caring for the environment while we built family.
A family affair: start small and build; it’s contagious Now recycling is a family project. Our daughters, Allie and Sarah, volunteered to take turns delivering the recycling each week to our nearby recycling center. Sam is in charge of crushing aluminum cans and breaking down boxes, while my husband Ron and I rinse and sort. We have a nice little recycling station made simply out of a few bins in our garage where we sort our plastic, glass, and paper. The kids’ contagious response to our efforts was something I hadn’t anticipated. Once they “got it”— why it’s important to protect and nourish their planet, they got into the flow and often remind me saying, “Don’t forget to recycle that, Mom!”
Does your family recycle? That first step is always the hardest—but think how cute your new little trash can could be!
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