Friday, August 12, 2011

Learning to Recycle

Since I have moved to Cape Cod my interest in recycling has grown enormously. Out in Oklahoma there is not so much emphasis on recycling and conservation in general. Out there there are plenty of places to throw something away. Here on the Cape there is no "away". There is no permanent dump - everything we throw away must be carried off-cape. In an effort to increase revenues at the Falmouth Transfer Station a $2.50 per bag fee was assessed - instead of increased revenues the amount of trash brought in decreased by 90%. maybe the visitors took their trash back off cape to toss in the cheaper municipal trash collection services there.  Maybe they rethought their usage patterns. Those of us who live here year round assess what comes into the house, maybe only because of the inconvenience or the expense of disposal.  The key is not to "buy green", although that might be an improvement. The goal is to buy less, to reuse and repurpose what comes into the house, to waste less. We recycle, we compost, we buy second hand. If you buy a new "green" organic cotton T shirt you will have contributed less than if you make do with what you have - swap it out with a friend so you each have a shirt you are less tired of, remake it by dying or restyling it into something fresh, or just continue to use it a bit longer. Make it into  cleaning rags when it is too far gone instead of buying paper towels no matter how "green" a brand you buy.

When I was a child there was not as much plastic around as there is now, and I am readjusting my thinking to use much less of it. the film below is one reason why:

Another reason is that we have found out that these plastic products are not necessarily good or safe for us to use.

New living room floor with tools
In an inconsistent note, my house remodel goes on. Floors are almost completely installed in the living room and bedroom (one box short of product so installers will have to come back Tuesday to finish), painting starts Monday. Although we are installing new floors, counters, and tile, I feel like we are true to some of the goals of a smaller carbon footprint. We have selected a modest size of house, suitable for two people and a dog. We have selected materials which are renewable and non toxic. We are not installing completely unneeded central air conditioning and instead will use a window unit for those few weeks when it is very warm. Our driveways are gravel and sand, which will not impede  rainwater from  being absorbed into the soil instead of being diverted into storm drains. Much of our furniture is carried forward from our former houses or family homes, recovered or repainted as needed. What possessions we did not move were  recycled to family homes or sold in our garage sale - almost nothing was thrown away. Second hand is the greenest sort of purchase !I'm not perfect. I have a long way to go before I can really call myself environmentally conscious, but I am moving forward. I have to - we all do.

Hot Stuff Roxy!
Roxanne has had a lovely day - with the workmen here both of the doors have been open all afternoon and she has been idling around the yard all by herself with no leash. So spoiled!

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