People start recycling for a variety of reasons. Some people want to stop landfills from overflowing so new ones won’t end up in their backyard. Some people are simply addicted to sorting and organizing and categorizing. Some people just hate waste. I started recycling because I was running out of trash bags.
I realized that if I pulled out the milk jugs, soda cans, glass jars and cereal boxes, I didn’t have to empty the trash as often. What I didn’t realize is that when you start to recycle you become aware of the decision-making process about waste and reusable goods at a very intimate level. Everything leaving the kitchen or closets or storage spaces starts going through a process of mental evaluation: do I toss it, can I save it or can anyone use it in any form?
A commitment to recycling changes one’s whole perspective. Despite being a sentimental packrat, I realized that once you get into the habit of assessing usefulness around the home, you make smarter decisions on everything. Instead of stockpiling more, I found that I stashed less because I realized that if I was not using something in a reasonable time, someone else could be and that I needed to let it go. For example, I found many old games and toys that my children grew out of years ago sitting dusty on our basement shelves just in case a younger child stopped by. I boxed them up and took them to Goodwill where someone else could immediately benefit from their educational value.
In Shel Horowitz’s e-book, “The Penny Pinching Hedonist: How to Live Like Royalty with a Peasant’s Pocketbook,”he states “Recycling is a popular idea these days — and for good reason. It’s good for the budget, the environment, and the society as a whole. But if you think of recycling only in terms of melting down plastic and metal or dissolving paper and making a new batch, think again.
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