The Challanges of Recycling While Living In An Apartment

With January comes New Year’s resolutions, and I’m willing to bet a lot of people made the resolution to become more environmentally aware. Now I have to tell you I’m not an environmental activist by any stretch of the imagination. I’m just someone who’s sick of seeing item after item in the dumpster heading to the landfill that would be better suited for the charity shop or freecycle.

In September of 2006, our family had to make the difficult choice of moving into an apartment. Allow me to give you a little history.

When Jason and I moved in together, he came from a condo and I came from a duplex and we moved into a rental house. When you’re in a house, the city we live in provides you with a regular trashcan, a green waste can, and a recycle bin. The garbage can is the smallest and would always fill up quickly. They do that on purpose to encourage recycling. They’ll give you multiple recycle bins and green waste bins at no additional charge, but if you wanted another garbage can, you’d have to pay extra for that.

The two places we lived after that were also houses and had the same set up. Then the owners of the last house we were in planned to sell and we were forced to move. We were given a very short period in which to find a place to live, and unfortunately the only financially sound choice we had was the apartment we live in now.

The main thing you learn while living in an apartment is just how wasteful people can be. We’re provided a dumpster in which everything goes. There’s no recycling dumpster, no green waste cans, just a total of four medium sized dumpsters for our entire complex. I’ve seen just how lazy some people are with their trash that I have a feeling a separate dumpster for recyclables wouldn’t work anyhow.

What do I mean by lazy? Well we have a spot with two dumpsters side by side and most of the time people won’t walk the extra three feet to deposit their trash bags into the mostly empty dumpster. They just keep piling their garbage on the already full one until it begins to fall on the ground. It’s disgusting, really.

Now getting back to how wasteful people are, it pains me when I see items in the dumpster that could easily be freecycled, listed on craigs list, or even taken to a donation center. The worst offenders are people who are moving. I understand not wanting to move everything you’ve accumulated over the years. Heck, we’ve moved something like four times in the last seven years so I understand more than a lot of people that sometimes it’s just easier to get rid of “it” than move it.

I’ve rescued several useful items that have found their way to the dumpster since we moved in. I got a 15 pane picture frame/room screen that with a little TLC was as good as new. I’ve rescued a huge box of baby clothes, many still with tags on. Right next to me is a side table that I plan on refurbishing. Those are just a few of the many items I’ve repurposed.

Currently in the dumpster you will find a perfectly good umbrella stroller, a baby swing, a baby bath tub, a large stuffed giraffe and an infant play mat. Those play mats aren’t cheap either.

It’s 2008 and yet there are people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to throw out usable items. I realize that the stroller is probably destined for the landfill at some point, but there are plenty of people who could get many years of use out of it before it heads there.

So the next time you clean out that garage or closet, think before just throwing it in the trash. As yourself first if someone you know could use it, and if not, would anyone be willing to pay for this on Craig’s list? How about listing it on Freecycle? Could I donate this to a second hand charity store?

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Jen Tucker

I'm a wife, mother of three and stay at home mom. I consider myself blessed to have such a wonderful network of friends and family around me. It may not be large, but it's an important one. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and it is my hope that I can bring a smile to your heart as you read.

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