Saturday, January 23, 2016

Curbside Recycling--Making a Good Thing Even Better

Between composting, recycling, and avoiding disposable packaging and products as much as possible we don't fill up our trash all that often.  We're all about the reduce, reuse, recycling at our place.
Yard waste, recycling, trash.
For a long time we just sorted and hauled our own recycling.  Matt and I are Why-Pay-For-It-When-Its-Not-Hard-To-Do-It-Ourselves type people.  A local company called Earth First Aid started offering curbside recycling in our community in 2005.  In addition to a monthly charge they didn't accept everything we already recycled--namely paperboard and margarine tubs--and so we just hauled it off ourselves.  Even still I was glad to see the Earth First Aid recycling bins at the curb as I traveled about town.

For me its worth an extra step to ensure that our natural resources are used responsibly and to their fullest. That said, I know all to well from my involvement with the recycling program on the campus where I work that for a lot of people recycling has to be just as easy as banishing something to the landfill.  If not, they won't do it.  Curbside recycling makes it easier.
In the summer of 2014 Matt and I were alerted to another curbside recycling program in town--this time offered through Republic, the waste management company that also picks up our trash and yard waste containers.  We looked into it and again decided to just continue hauling our own.

Eventually though we realized that a good chunk of our store room was devoted to housing recycling until we could haul it off.  We weren't very consistent in our hauling schedule so we'd end up with more than would fit in our car easily in one trip.  So, we compared the two curbside options and decided to just bite the bullet and try one.  We could always not renew and go back to doing it ourselves.
There are pros and cons to both companies, as is the case with just about everything.

Both cost about the same--$15 per month with Earth First Aid and $12.50 per month from Republic.

Republic accepts more paper, cardboard, and plastic products than Earth First Aid.  Earth First Aid accepts glass which Republic does not.

Earth First Aid is locally owned.  Republic is a national company.

Republic has a single 92 gallon co-mingled bin.  Earth First Aid uses totes for different materials and so requires sorting on the consumer end.
After some thought on the matter we went with Republic.  Their dumpster could easily join the yard waste and rubbish dumpsters at the end of the drive.  They accepted a wider variety of recyclables, were cheaper, and didn't require any sorting.  We do not generate much glass as we do so much canning, homebrewing, and bulk shopping so that was a trade-off we were willing to accept.    We continue to take any glass that does crop up to the bins at the service desk at Target.  [note: Target no longer accepts glass.  BLS2017]
A year and a half later and we're still very pleased with the service.  It is super convenient.  We keep a small bin for recycling under the sink next to our (equally small) trash can.  When the bin is full we take it out and dump it all in the big, blue dumpster.  Republic comes every other Friday to pick up the recycling.

Recycling is, of course, only part of the global waste management solution, since only glass can be recycled endlessly without a decline in quality.  Reducing and reusing is where its at!  Still, recycling is a step that isn't hard to take in most urban areas (and even in small towns there is at least aluminum and newspaper recycling)  and it sure beats tossing that perfectly usable plastic and paper in the landfill to rot and make methane and go to waste.
What a waste!


  1. Our recycling bin fills up way more than the trash bin! But they're so easy to handle, even though they're large. It's a pleasure.

  2. Your message is wonderful as always, but what I really love about this post is your juxtaposition of "trash" pictures with such beautiful ones of your home. Such pretty spaces!

    1. :) I hadn't thought of that, but that is funny--and thanks!

  3. So informative. Covered all the bases. Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it with me!

    1. My pleasure! I am glad I could help.


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