I've been feeling pretty good about the way we've been recycling lately. We've changed our system around a little and are producing mountains of recycling. Factor in the composting, and I've found that we hardly have any garbage going to the landfill. Great, right? Right?
Wrong! Something is terribly wrong here. Mountains of recycling???
That's right, mountains. We fill all three of our huge, oversized recycling bins to overflowing every week, and we usually still have some left over. I can't believe how long it took me to stop feeling proud of that and realize we have a problem. We have a couple of problems. One is that we keep buying processed foods contained in insane amounts of packaging. I've been aware of the evils of processed foods since I was old enough to think, yet I still buy them too often. I have many reuseable grocery bags, I even have some specifically for produce, but how often do I actually remember to use them? The answer is almost never.
I know that instant foods in plastic packing to be heated up in the microwave at work for lunch are just bad for me, and the earth, on any number of levels, but I still buy them sometimes.
And what about the water I waste preparing food containers for the recycling? Good clean water lost. Wasted. I'm ashamed.
I have taken some baby steps to right some of these problems, but I need to get tough and try harder. I need to stop rushing off to the grocery store in a panicky state and buy whatever I see. I need to get better at planning out my meals and making sure that the food I buy is, whenever possible, better quality, local, organic, and more sustainable. I certainly can't afford to shop at the mobile Farmer's Market again (Hey, thanks for the $26.00 whole chicken and the $9.00 teeny, tiny bag of collards. You have to be kidding!), but I can learn to grow my own veggies and take advantage of people's offers for windfalls (like my cousin in law's apples and blueberries later this year.)
I also need to create some kind of gray water collection system in my home, to deal with wasteful water uses like rinsing recycling and prewashing dishes before using the dishwasher.
I have so far to go. It's a little intimidating, but I'm on my way and determined to do better. The proof will be there in front of my house on Friday mornings, in the amount of recycling waiting to be picked up.