Recycling – A Personal Experience

By Tom Chryst

Among the missions of the Wild Ones, along with encouraging natural landscaping, is promoting environmentally sound practices. One of these practices — one that everyone can participate in — is recycling. This article is a first-hand memoir of what I think is a successful recycling program. There is nothing difficult or expensive or time-consuming about it; my wife Marilyn and I simply take advantage of readily available opportunities to recycle. Since we have been seriously recycling, we have reduced our trash (which goes to the landfill) from a crammed-full can every week to one only half full, and often we even skip a week. We use a combination of strategies: curbside recycling, non- profit and for-profit recycling centers, and re-use.

All trash collectors in unincorporated St. Louis County (and in some other counties and municipalities) are required to provide curbside recycling services. Ours (Midwest Waste) collects once a week, and accepts newspaper, glass containers, steel cans and #1 and #2 plastic (soda bottles and milk jugs, respectively).

We collect corrugated cardboard and combine it with that collected at Shaw Arboretum (where we volunteer) and sell it at the market rate (1 to 1-1/2 cents a pound), donating the proceeds to the Arboretum staff picnic fund. We collect aluminum cans and sell them at about 30 to 50 cents a pound — more than enough to pay for the gas to haul them and the cardboard. Both of these are sold to Southside Recycling.

We segregate two varieties of paper; magazines and catalogs, and miscellaneous paper (which includes virtually everything else: junk mail, office paper, non-corrugated cardboard, etc.) and periodically take them to the Francis Scheidegger Recycling Depositary in Kirkwood. We save any clean, re- usable paper to use for computer drafts, notes, grocery lists, and what-have- you.

All Dierberg’s stores accept plastic grocery bags and newspaper sleeves (which can also be re-used, of course.)

Recycling resources are easy to find — in the yellow pages, through the County Department of Health, or on the Internet (try www.stlouisco. com/doh/rsrc_ctr/ recycler.html or www.postnet.com/postnet/getout/recycle.nsf). (Ed. updated link:  http://www.stlouisco.com/HealthandWellness/RecyclingandSolidWaste)

All of our recycling takes only a little time and effort, and a small amount of space in the garage, and it really pays off in reducing the impact we have on the landfill. I encourage every Wild One to give it a try!