My Own Recycling Story
Recycling cans, milk jugs and paper was always second nature to me. It was just “what you did” growing up in a town where you had to pay a couple bucks per bag of trash with frugal parents. But it wasn’t until 2012 that I really got serious about trying to recycle “everything else.”
But what was “everything else” anyway? What was going into my trash in the first place?
The first thing I did was gather information on what I was throwing away – I took some pictures of my trash (and recycling) each week to help with this, and noticed the big spike after parties and new purchases.
The next thing I did was try to find a way to recycle some of the things I was currently trashing.
After that, I determined to begin tackling the first R in the RRR creed – Reduce!
Looking into my trash, I tried to determine how to reduce the number of disposable products I used. For me, at the time two years ago, the biggest one was diapers – followed by a close second of cleaning products like paper towels. Reducing the amount of trash and recycling I bring into my home with my purchases continues to be (and probably always will be) a work in progress.
At the same time, I looked into recycling some of the trickier things, such as old towels and broken baby toys. Events like SalemRecycles' Textile Drive in November were instrumental in getting me to explore more ways to recycle different things. It is much more fun to recycle in a community where there are people to help you out with tips and information.
Last January, I reviewed my year of trying to cut my waste in half, which you can read about here.
How to use GreenSalem.com and other SalemRecycles information to help YOU reduce waste
Wherever you are on your own recycling journey – there is information for you at GreenSalem.com and a community willing to answer your questions here, and certainly on SalemRecycles' Facebook page. We are a passionate group of committed recyclers who love fielding questions.
Sometimes even we are stumped by what may seem like an easy question. At a recent meeting, someone asked, “But why can you recycle tissue paper for wrapping gifts but you can’t recycle used tissues from blowing your nose? They seem so similar.” If you have a question – ask it!
Answer: You can’t recycle tissues for sanitary reasons.
If you are new to the GreenSalem.com site, here are some of the valuable things you can find:
If you’re looking for the answer to a specific question – use the search bar on the right!
If you’re looking for visual tips on how to organize your recycling bin, What Goes Where at the top might help you. Salem has Dual Stream Recycling (you must separate paper from containers).
If you are looking for a way to recycle a specific item, batteries for example, you can click through the resources we’ve collected under Reuse and Repurpose which appears on the sidebar when you are in the sections marked “What Goes Where” and “Things You Can Do.”
After you’ve poked around on the site – we invite you to visit us again for updated Salem information – but also for a growing number of tips on how to incorporate recycling into your lifestyle, upcoming events, and stories and features from the SalemRecycles committee.
If you like, sign up for our monthly email newsletter by entering your email into the space provided which will also keep you informed about events and more ways to recycle and live sustainably.
We want this site to remain a valuable resource for the Salem community and hope that you will come back often as you seek to reduce your waste in 2014 and beyond.
This blog post was written by Beth Melillo, a member of the SalemRecycles Committee. Beth is an MS candidate at Salem State University in the I/O Psychology program and is interested in sustainable business and development. You can often find her running at Forest River Park or checking out books about upcycling from the Salem Public Library.