Monday, April 22, 2013

On Being A Little Less Granola

I remember a college professor of mine saying “In the seventies, we fought for recycling and we never imagined it would be ubiquitous in thirty short years.”  Well, ubiquitous in Washington State, anyhow.  I’ve been to parts of the country that are not so well-versed in recycling etiquette.


I’m of the generation that doesn’t even think about it.  I mean, it could be a really inefficient process to recycle everything I throw in that bin and I wouldn’t know.  You just do.  You just recycle everything that can be recycled, and then the garbage is further split into what can be composted and what can’t.  I go to restaurants that compost or recycle EVERYTHING except plastic spoons (to be heat resistant, they can’t be made of plant materials and are therefore not compostable) and I will think nothing of holding onto a plastic soda bottle until I get home and can dispose of it properly if I’m out somewhere that doesn’t offer a recycle bin.


I suppose it’s great, in a way, that there’s a generation of kids who have turned what used to be radical into more of a casual environmentalism.  It’s probably going to be the same way with our children: they’ll eat organic, local foods when they can, they’ll use fewer toxic household chemicals, and they’ll yell at me for doing something so thoughtlessly harmful like, I dunno, painting my nails or eating nacho cheese product.  Except for Tony’s penchant for chemical weed-killers, we’re pretty granola around here, without being fanatical.  Cloth diapers, cloth napkins, no soy, natural laundry detergent… the list goes on.


But this weekend, we took a step back in the granola world and got rid of our compost bin.  And I couldn’t be happier.


A few weeks ago, Tony went to the hardware store to pick up some bark mulch and came back with bags of compost.  Big, smelly bags for $4 each.  Composted locally.  From the yard waste and pizza boxes we put in our Green Bin every week for the truck to pick up.  And we though, “Why in God’s name are we putting our vegetable peels and apple cores and grass clippings in our own stinky compost bin?”  The thing breeds flies all summer and smells terrible, and we could just be putting all that organic stuff in the Green Bin anyhow and then buy a bag of compost whenever we need it.


I guess it just goes to show that casually incorporating good habits, like recycling and composting, into your life doesn’t mean you should do them without thought.  We’ll still compost as much, but we won’t be doing so in our back yard.  And I have a feeling that the summer will smell so much better.  I’ll probably celebrate that with a few back-patio margaritas in the evening sun, glorying in the lack of flies.


Mom and Dad said...

I never even knew about recycling before i got married. Now everything is recycled if possible. Course that is hand in hand with the "keeping" at our house. Moving has been a good time to make Goodwill runs. Gma Aileen was famous for recycling everything. In Corvallis, being a college town, you can imagine. They have outlets for styrofoam...ugh...not such luck here. Cant recycle tin cans anymore...but we try. Good job. It's nice to know some of those mundane lessons stuck.

Sarah said...

It's cool that you basically get to keep composting without doing the dirty work. Pretty cool.