Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recycling & Adapting

You don't know "GREEN" until you move to Seattle.  This is the typical collection day line up for Seattlelites: BIG BLUE CAN (recycling), BIG GREEN CAN (compost - ???) and small black can (regular garbage), ah, I forgot to tell you that collection day only happens ONCE A WEEK. For us new comers from the Magic City, this set-up was pretty strange -  we didn't even know what compost was (how do you even begin to do that!)  because the garbage disposal was our best friend - and we never, ever had enough stuff to recycle inside that BIG can.  Every Tuesday (collection day), the black can was overflowing and waiting to be emptied to be filled again and again.....I endured this drama for about six months until I decided we needed to get a BIG BLACK CAN, despite the probable dismay of our neighbors and the horrible certainty that we ALONE, were the cause of global warming.  The guilt did not last too long because I could handle the shame easily but not the garbage smell inside our garage - NO WAY!  So, as we were the only house on the block with a BIG BLACK CAN, a half-way empty blue can and of course, NO GREEN CAN, everyone knew we were the people who came from Miami, pretty much a synonym with "waste" at this point!

After almost a year now of living in Seattle, we are faced with a new challenge:  the big black can (which costs $10.00 more per month) is now half-way empty.   Well, little by little we have learned to REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE (this is the motto of CleanScapes, our collection company) and although I don't go grocery shopping with a reusable canvas bag, YET, we have done away with our Styrofoam plates and cups (!!!!!!!!) and are actually washing our dishes - unbelievable, I know, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be and our daily lives are now consistent with what our kids are being taught in school.  We still get plastic bags at the store but it's only so we can put our garbage inside and throw it in the big, I hear that's not necessary when you "compost" your turns out the secret is to use biodegradable bags, provided by the collection company, and use them to collect your food scraps and throw them inside the green can (the one we DON'T have) and let it just become a big old mess - smelly and horrible looking but very, very good for the environment - go figure!  Well, who knows, I might just give it a shot and get a smaller black can (AGAIN) and get a green one to produce our own disgusting worm-feeding pile of garbage and contribute to the efforts of cleaning up the planet - or not.  One thing is for sure, I am getting rid of the BIG BLACK CAN because I am not paying $10.00 extra to have it half-way empty!  I am definitely into saving some GREEN $!

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