Check out our new recycling system!
We bought these neat bags from Ikea a few weeks ago, since we’re having to rearrange our normal recycling routine….
As you know, we moved to the Oregon Coast in mid-August. We’ve spent our first month here adjusting to new jobs and, on the green garbage front, adjusting to a very different recycling and shopping situation than ever before.
Our new town has only 400 year-round residents, making curbside recycling a financial impossibility. In the past, we have always had access to a nifty comingled recycling bin – this is how most cities and a number of suburbs manage their recycling. Basically, you get a big recycling bin and all your recyclables go into it, all mixed up together. Later, this conglomeration of metal, plastic, paper, and cardboard is trucked to a MRF, or a Materials Recovery Facility. At the MRF, a combo of people and machines sort materials into like piles, so you wind up with bales of cardboard and containers filled with plastic or metal. These are sent to processing facilities where they are broken down into raw materials and re-made into something else.
Here on the coast, we’re skipping the middleman, or the MRF, so we are responsible for doing all our own sorting in our garage. Additionally, we do not have curbside pickup, so we’ve been making a trip to the local recycling center once every two weeks or so. The county’s public works department seems to be making a decent effort to make recycling as easy as possible in the community, because there are two centers I pass on my way to work each day, so I don’t have to go out of my way.
The local facilities accept a pretty standard range of recyclables: aluminum and tin cans, plastic bottles (1 and 2), paper, newspaper, cardboard, and glass.
THEN, I hit the recycling jackpot. At my employee orientation, our presenter spoke of a place called CART’M. She called CART’M a “really cool recycling place” about a half hour from my work. My hopes for this really cool place weren’t particularly high, given the low population and the fact that we don’t even have curbside pickup. Nevertheless, I Googled CART’M when I got home and found this site: http://www.cartm.org/
In addition to accepting practically every recyclable material known to man (except Styrofoam), CART’M aims to lead the local communities to zero waste. Its community outreach efforts focus not just on recycling but on the more important Rs, Reduce and Recycle. There’s a thrift store that sells unwanted but still usable items. They host real live trash art workshops leading up to their annual Trash Bash and Trash Fashion Show! Talk about visionary.
We love it here, and this nifty local resource made our new home so much better.