No can left behind (Day 93)…

June 1, 2007

soda can

You’re standing at the bus stop, you just swigged the last drop from a bottle of iced tea, your arms are loaded with a day’s worth of shopping, there’s a garbage can right next to you and no recycling bin in sight. Do you hold on to that sucker and wait to recycle it at home? Or just hope no hippies are looking, apologize to Mother Nature and toss it in the garbage?

Before now, I’d probably do the latter. Same goes for all the paper news releases and promotional junk I get at the office — the recycling bin is only steps away, and yet “steps” requires getting my lazy butt off my chair and walking, whereas the garbage can under my desk requires nothing but a flick of the wrist and maybe a swivel, so I’d often just toss it all in the garbage (how many Hail Marys does this add up to? Anyone?).

It’s not that I never recycle. At home, I’ve grown up with blue, grey and green bins, and when I’m out, if I happen to pass by one of those three-holed receptacles with different slots for paper, plastic and garbage, I’ll make sure to put whatever crap I have in its proper place.

But my attitude has always been that of the convenient recycler — if someone puts the appropriate disposal mechanism in front of me, sure, I’ll take part. But don’t expect me to go out of my way or anything.

Until now! (Sorry, that’s my favourite segue)

I’m officially committed to recycling anything and everything than can be recycled, no excuses. If it means carrying around armfuls of newspaper and pop cans with me until I get home, so be it. It’s time to suck it up and deal with some inconvenient recycling.

As I’ve already started toting a reusable coffee thermos and water bottle with me everywhere, don’t buy any take-out food that comes with disposable packaging or plastic cutlery, and don’t chew gum anymore, I’ve already saved myself some trouble. It’s mostly at the office where I start to slack off (note to boss: I mean slack off with regards to recycling, not work! … nervous laughter), so it’s time to buckle down and respect the third R.

Photo courtesy of crassy777 at Flickr

A green double-feature (Day 43)…

April 12, 2007

greendimesToday, I made two green moves. I signed up to both stop the flow of junk mail to my apartment and have a tree planted each month for a year, thanks to one fabulous website called GreenDimes, which finally arrived in Canada — and no, despite the poor exchange rate, they will not have to change their name to Green 11.4 Cents.

For the annual cost of $36, I got “Sapling” status (how cute is that?), which means my name is removed from direct mailing lists and telemarketers’ files. Then, I got to further select specific catalogues from a drop-down menu to block — I clicked on Abercrombie&Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and L.L. Bean, because I really don’t need to look at clothes that are overpriced, bras that have five layers of padding and plaid shirts that only come in useful at the cottage I don’t own.

Plus, a tree gets planted each month for me in North America, Central America, South America, India, Senegal, and Haiti; I can even specify the percentages of my trees that I want in each of these regions — so you better behave, Haiti! On top of all this, they’re also sending me a “no junk mail” sticker to put on my mailbox (I already have one, but clearly it hasn’t been very effective).

As well, my friend Liz pointed out that I could also go to the Canadian Marketers Association and register for the Do Not Contact service there, too. So I did. And my dear blogmate No Impact Man also had some suggestions on his site back in February, although they’re most helpful for those living in the U.S. Finally, my superintendent has placed a recycling bin by all the mailboxes in my building instead of a garbage bin, so at least we can all toss stuff in there as a last resort.

Tote-bagging it back (Day 38)…

April 7, 2007

Bag it Back is the latest recycling campaign for all of us winos (sorry, oenophiles) in Toronto. Essentially, the LCeeb is like that annoying roommate you had who never did the dishes, and would sooner pay you to do them than turn off The Price is Right and get his lazy ass of the couch. Because most wine bottles haven’t been getting properly recycled through the blue box program (and we’re getting told this … now?) they’re asking us to grab a plastic bag and bring the bottles back — no, not back to them, back to those guys over there with the hemp badges sewn onto their backpacks, aka The Beer Store, who’ll give us a return.

So today, I collected the bottles that had been sitting next to my blue box, put them in a tote bag and walked down the street, past the LCBO, to return them. I’ll keep tote-bagging it back, but don’t think there won’t be a scowl on my face and a chip on my shoulder in the process.