Friday, July 22, 2011

Recycling Convert

I am a late bloomer baby boomer ... okay, not really, it just sounded fun to say.  

Start again ...

I am a baby boomer born on the cusp of Gen X . The recycling movement really came into being during my college years and I remember recycling aluminum cans and later newspapers. 

I'll be honest, I've never been a good recycler, mostly because recycling bins always took up too much space in my traditionally small apartment/condo. I would recycle cans and newspapers since it never seemed a hassle to organize and recycle them. 

The condo complex where I lived in Saint Paul made it pretty easy to recycle with several labeled bins alongside our garages, but I was still only doing the cans and newspapers until my niece Kelly lived me for a summer. Kelly is a Gen Y kid and recycling to her is an expectation and just a part of keeping a home. She got my recycling going that summer, but the habit didn't stick. 

In my defense, I do use those reusable shopping bags. I just always forget to bring them in when I go to the store. 

In the last 10 months, while living with my sister and her family, I caught the recycling bug because Dodge County, where they live, makes recycling as easy as falling off a log. You don't have to separate your recyclables; they let you mix them together! (thus less space) One of the cabinets in their kitchen island is set up to hold two recycling bins, so you just have to dump things in there. Eazy peezy. 

So, now I've moved into my new digs in swanky NW Rochester. It's a newer building and is managed by a reputable company here in Rochester (Paramark). So, I was more than a bit surprised when I inquired where the recycling area is, only to be told that there isn't one. I was so stunned that I asked the question a second time because I was SURE that the manager had just misunderstood my question.

I'm not sure what was more unexpected - that there isn't any recycling at an apartment complex or that I was disappointed in the fact that there isn't any recycling at my new home. 

For the last two weeks, a good part of my living room had been taken over by a growing stack of flattened cardboard boxes that I had planned to put in the complex's recycling area. I had also started putting my cans, newspapers and plastic bottles into bags for recycling. Here I was all ready to be responsible and I got shot down.

With a new, and highly unusual, determination, I used the Google to look up "recycling in Olmsted County Minnesota." I found a recycling center on the other side of town where you can bring your recycling, they just can't be mixed together.  Okay, I can live with that. 

So last night, I loaded up my car with that stack of cardboard and the bags of newspapers and cans, ready for my first of many trips to the recycling center.  This morning, before going to work, I drove across town and went through the recycling drive-thru, with its several, clearly-marked bins for the various materials. I unloaded my stuff and drove on to work feeling highly satisfied and a bit smug.

I've also started thinking about how I can set up sorting bins in my new place ... When did I become a tree hugger? 

Maybe I am a late-bloomer, baby boomer after all.

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