Recycling beyond cans and newspapers

We try to recycle as much as we can.  The usual cans, bottles and paper goods that our town program picks up are always recycled.  Well, aside from the occasional icky bottle that I can not clean enough to throw in the recycling bin.  I even try to Freecycle in the interest of keeping things out of the landfill.

But some items defy being recycled.  And yet, it seems such a shame to throw them in the garbage.  It is possible that someone would take it.  I am always amazed at what gets taken on Freecycle.  But if they are not taken, what are you supposed to do with them?

For example, take my really beat up frying pan.  I have had it for 10 years and it is on its last leg.  It’s beat up, no-longer nonstick and I can’t imagine anyone would want to take it off my hands.  But it is a big hunk of metal.  Metal that will sit and sit and sit, probably like forever in our landfill.  One would think that since it is some kind of metal, it could be recycled.  What about old knives and utensils I no longer want?  Old baking pans?

I have sheets that are also about 10 years old.  I would keep using them, but they have holes.  Lots of holes.  I have kept them because I don’t know where to dispose them.  But really my linen closet is not that big and I’m starting to need more room.  Did I mention that I have towels that are… yes 10 years old. They are fraying.

By the way, these items were bought for my wedding and I guess about 10 years is the life expectancy for these things!

What do I do with these things?

I have started going through some of Soso’s newborn items.  There is a an electric breast pump that’s taking up a lot of space in my closet. The instruction says it isn’t meant to be shared.  And honestly is there really a market for used breast pumps?  Diaper pail?  Does anyone want a used diaper pail?  Used potty?  Used bathtubs?

We have one of those big canister vacuum cleaner.  We got it back in the day when we had carpets.  Well it broke down a month ago and a part of me wanted to just get rid of it and get a more compact one.  The only thing we need to vacuum these days is a rug.  Do I even have to tell you one of the reasons why we’ve kept this behemoth?  Because the idea of having it just sit in a landfill sickens me.

What we can recycle is so limited.  It would be great if we could as a society think beyond recycling and think about using more reusable resources.

Who knows.  May be the environmental impact of having hardwood floors is more harmful that having carpets and vacuum cleaners.

This reminds me of back in the day when I was dabbling in cloth diapering.  There were arguments about what was more harmful, plastic diapers sitting in landfills for thousands of years or using up more water and electricity in washing cloth.  Yes, I know I’m being a little simplistic but you get the gist.

There has got to be a better way.  One day, the movie Wall-E will be our reality.  Except, probably with not so happy an ending.  Or perhaps we’ll all be dead and none of this will matter after all.  We can but hope.

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One thought on “Recycling beyond cans and newspapers

  1. I think about this stuff, too… and like you, the result is that I keep everything for which I don’t know the answer. My basement is full. It’s a conundrum.

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