Recycling LA style

Recycling CenterThere’s many details to settling into a new place that goes beyond the apartment hunting, buying a car etc. One dilemma I was immediately faced with was now that I have started unpacking my 80 boxes (half of which contain MORE packing paper) what do I do with the mountain of cardboard and paper that I was accumulating? In New York, I would tie them up and wait for recycling day when I would put them on the curb to be whisked away.

When we moved in, we were pointed to one large blue bin that is shared between the 3 apartments. This blue bin would be collected once a week. Hmmm…one bin for everything? Do I not need to separate glass/plastic/paper etc? Also only what fits in the bin would be collected. No piles of anything anywhere but IN the bin. This would mean that if I can fit 4-5 boxes a week into the bins….by Christmas my house would be clear of paper.

I thought LA was an environmentally conscious city where everyone was a hippy, driving priuses, eating crunchy and composting daily! After a quick web search we found a recycling center that takes cardboard (not all do) If you need to go to a recycling center, don’t clean your car, don’t take a shower and wear shoes!

You basically drive into the center where bulldozers are moving around mountains of paper crushes glass, metal items…its quite a sight. You then park your car as close to the mountain of the type of recycling products you have in place where preferably the heavy machinery will not run over it. You then proceed to (run) carry your items while avoiding trucks, hoses, puncturing your foot with rusty wires and other cars avoiding heavy machinery.

Driving out of there I reflected on the fact that if we had wanted money for our recycling. We would have probably gotten 4 $. But what is 4$ compared to the satisfaction of knowing that you have run through a death defying obstacle course while helping to minimize humanity’s waste. (hmmm)

Wastefulness is a pet peeve of mine. In Switzerland all garbage is weighed and charged. In Korea recycling is insanely sorted through and separated. Garbage bags are charged so that you really think about each item you throw away. When did we become such a throw away society? A typical trip to the supermarket inevitably ends in you bringing home 20 plastic bags. When did each tomato need to be individually wrapped? When did it become cheaper to buy something new rather than fix the old?


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