In almost every town and city recycling programs have had us trying to find things to place in that large bin they charge us extra for… In some locations they actually watch your frequency of recycling and will fine you if you aren’t giving the garbage man enough stuff … but heres the deal instead of letting some company or someone else make use of stuff you paid good money for why not save it and use it for your own projects.
I use to live outside Philadelphia PA and the Recycling Bug hit our area long before the rest of the country. We would place a blue bin at the bottom of our driveway full of glass and plastic and if we had newspapers we would place them in a paper shopping bag.. yeah thats right before plastic was even introduced we were recycling.
You might think hey thats great that your community .. well actually about 5 million people in the region were all contributing to make the world better.. but heres the thing.. after about 7 years there was an investigation and it seems that all of the extra money we were paying for recycling pickups along with all of the pain involved in dealing with recycling garbage was wasted effort and time.
The companies that were picking up the recycle bins were paying even more money to dump all the stuff in a regular land fill because they couldn’t turn a profit on it. It was all a scam and everyone was paying for 2 different trash systems and separating our waste like fools only to be charged enormous amounts of money to bury it in the same dump.
And if you didn’t know this same thing happens all around our country. Yes they do recycle some products in some areas .. some of the time.. but in all locations when the resale value of the recycled plastic is too low they will just dump it in a landfill.
I think that some day maybe 200 years from now there will be people mining our landfills for metals and other items just like they mine for gold in Alaska.
What can you do with Newspaper and Cardboard instead of throwing it away?
The first thing you can do with cardboard boxes is use them for their regular use. They are great for storing stuff in your attic or basement storage areas and its always a good idea to have a bunch of boxes broke down flat that you can use for mailing gifts or maybe stuff you sell online.
I try to keep an assortment of different size boxes and when I get some I put them inside the largest one. It seems to work out pretty well.
If you get specialty gift boxes you can use them in your home to store things like paperwork or fragile items on your shelves. I have a shoe box that I keep an assortment of batteries in. I keep all the new batteries in their original packing and when I replace all the fire alarm batteries I put them in plastic lunch bags with a date and use them for radios or other electronics until they die completely.
Newspaper is great to have around the home and in your shop or garage. Not only can you use it for packing material if you need to ship something you can use it for many projects like painting or when you are dealing with something greasy or dirty to keep your workbench, carpet or whatever clean.
I have a pretty decent size box that I store newspaper in under one of my work benches. I will keep all the main pages that are in good condition and some of the larger circulars. I would guess I probably have about 40 or so tabloid size newspapers in this box that get used over the course of the year.
What other things are good to save from your trash?
Well anything that you think you can use within a reasonable amount of time is good to keep. You don’t want to get into the mentality of hoarding everything you can find but its a good idea to keep things you would throw away if you can put them to use.
I like to store extra water for emergencies in the garage refrigerator so I save some nice plastic gallon jugs that I bought orange juice in. They have really nice screw on tops and are thick so I know I can count on them as much as any storage container I might buy.
I also like to keep a few large plastic laundry detergent bottles around to fill with used motor oil when I work on my car or lawnmower. I try to find a couple that seal really well and then once they are full I take them down to the service station and they accept them. Some places even use the oil for heating but thats not as common as it probably should be.
I also like to keep some used oil around instead of buying it so a small container can be saved for soaking rusted parts or whatever.
I started out this how to talking about how the mandated recycling in my old home town was simply tossing the stuff away rather than sell it to be used for new products. This is just a shame because a lot of people actually think they are doing some good by washing out soup cans and hoping they end up melted down in new steel.
It would be nice if we could get more out of the things we buy and if they are going to force us to recycle that money they get from selling it to local or overseas companies really should pay for our whole garbage bill. Wouldn’t that dream be nice.. no garbage bills just split the stuff up… but that will never happen because they need to steal our money.
So, Instead of filling their pockets try to make use of some of the things you might normally throw away.
Newspaper is great for masking off things when you paint and boxes can be used for many things but at least you won’t be paying someone extra money to throw it all in with the rest of the trash until you get everything out of it you can.
And you can always build a fort for your cat with extra boxes if you have nothing else to do.