I have just watched "An Inconvenient Truth" on DVD a little while ago and I take heart with what Mr. Al Gore is trying to say. I already do my part in recycling and reuse by taking aluminum cans and newspapers to the recycle center, going to reuse shops such as thrift stores, yard sales (I know it's not a shop, but you know what I mean!) and used book stores (why buy new when I can get a used book for $4 instead of $20) and by growing much of our own vegetables and canning the surplus. I know there is more that I could do to help save energy and reduce carbon emissions and I have visited the website: www.ClimateCrisis.net for more tips. You can click on the link and see for yourself.
I have always felt I was a bit old-fashioned and I actually enjoy doing things like hanging clothes out to dry on the line outside (*sniff* nothing beats the scent of clothes dried outside), growing my own food (you know organic foods taste so much better!), making and canning jams and tomatoes, etc., and making do with what I have instead of replacing something that could be fixed. I can appreciate the old mentality of saving scraps of cloth and using them as rags, or as part of a quilt or in my case, making a rag rug. 'Waste not, want not' was something I didn't fully understand up until a few years ago when I had started my own family and realized that if I threw something away that was still perfectly good, but had no use for it at the time, I would be wishing I had it later on and thinking "such a waste!" Hence- 'Waste not, want not'.
Before we moved, we lived in a town that was very gung-ho on recycling and encouraged it. We took our trash to the landfill and discovered the most wonderful thing ever and something I sorely miss to this day. Along with the usual receptacles to drop off your sorted glass, metals, plastics, newspapers, magazines, cardboard, yard waste, paint and chemicals, computer and electronics, used oil, clothing and fabrics, and finally household trash, there was also a shed labeled "Trash or Treasure." If you had a sofa that was too good to throw away, but you didn't want it anymore, you could drop it off in the shed and people could come by and take it-- free! You could drop off almost anything, and there would be attendants there to help you decide if it was worth putting there or to put in the trash bin. Hubby and I were there practically every weekend taking things and half our house was furnished with other people's cast-offs. I found a lovely antique arm chair with carved ball and claw feet and all it needed was re-upholstery. Hubby has found countless toy cars to add to his collection. We found play sets for the children to play on outside, including a barbie jeep for them to drive around in, in perfect condition and all it needed was a new battery. I also have what I consider one of my prized possessions-- a 1880's cupboard that was obviously kept in the barn (as in covered with poo, spiders and webs, and a mouse gnawed a hole through the back to make a home in the drawer) and when I cleaned it I found on the underside of the drawer a date and name. It is beautiful and I have gotten lots of compliments and I love to shock by saying, "I got it from the trash!"
To me, that is the ultimate in recycling-- instead of throwing away something that is perfectly good, you are just merely tired of looking at it, take it to the Trash or Treasure shed and let someone else have it. The landfill here, in our new town, in a new state, doesn't have a Trash or Treasure shed. Doesn't even have an aluminum recycling receptacle. All they have is one big bin you dump everything into, and they will then use a bull dozer to transfer the trash into a dump truck and then take the trash and dump it into an abandoned coal mine somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia. I am appalled.
Hubby took the trash one day, and when he got there, he saw a great looking wooden rocking chair. He asked if he could take it and they told him he couldn't. They weigh your vehicle before you go in, then weigh you again on your way out. They calculate the difference in weight and tell you what you need to pay. So if you took something from the trash, your weight would be different and you'd pay less. But what if you were to take said rocking chair out before you get weighed on the exit, the answer was still "no". How maddeningly frustrating that is!!! To see something that could be rescued and save a little room in the landfills and not being able to do it. The only option I can see is to lobby the county and demand they set up a Trash or Treasure site, or to stand outside the gates and inspect each passing vehicle for worthy items and ask if I can have it before they go in.
This is why I want to open my own thrift shop, because there is no place here that takes perfectly good rocking chairs and sofas and books and then offer them to the public at low prices. I want to catch those items and breathe new life into them and let other people fall in love with your old Pyrex dishes or dining room set. I love seeing something that has been around for 50+ years and seeing a new generation "discover" it and updating it in fresh style. I'll take your cracked plates and smash it and use the pieces to make a mosaic top for a scratched-beyond-repair table. I'll take that sheet with a hole in it and rip it up some more to make a rug. Make something new from something old. Ask around before you throw away your dishes-- maybe someone knows a young couple just starting out and don't have the funds to buy all they need. If you can, put it out on the curb with a "FREE" sign and I guarantee you, it'll be gone by the end of the day. You will have made space in your home, but more importantly, you'll have recycled and helped someone out.