Last Monday I said that I was going to show you how much recycling our family of four accumulates in just 7 days. This was a pretty interesting exercise for me as well, because I was not sure how much recyclable material we actually went through in a week. It turns out that it is quite a bit!
First off, I should mention that we did not go through 4 gallons of milk in a week...we emptied the last bit of milk out of 2 gallons Monday morning, and then finished off another one last night and the fourth this morning. So we did drink 2 gallons this week, which is a good bit I suppose!
My husband and I were talking about the volume of recycling last night, and we agreed that this was not an abnormally large week for recycling for our family. In fact, on weeks when we sort and get rid of old papers, we produce significantly more recycling!
Here is a closer look at the pile:
There is also a small cardboard box under everything that is filled with papers...mostly things that came in the mail and the small, local paper that comes every week. There are a few cans and other food items in the plastic bag in the front, some paper packaging and a few children's hangers in the back box.
The really interesting thing I discovered this week is that we produced about twice as much recycling as trash in our trash can. That is huge! Our trash was picked up Tuesday, and the can is not even 2/3 full next to all that recycling. This explains why we put out so much less trash than those nearby us who do not recycle.
Keeping track of the recycling this week also motivated me to be diligent to check if things could be recycled before just tossing them in the trash. Several times I caught myself about to pitch it in the can (like the plastic children's hangers...I've been throwing them away for years!) but stopped myself and checked for the recycling triangle first.
I have a question too. Some containers take a really long time to get cleaned out so they can be recycled...like this peanut butter jar...
It seems wasteful to me to run tons of water to get the peanut butter out just so I can recycle it. What do you think? Is it worth it, or should I just throw things like this away?
I hope this look at our week's recycling challenges you to consider recycling if you do not already, and encourages you if you are currently recycling!