Having grown up in Germany, where everyone recycles even though you don’t get money for it (like you do here if you recycle bottles and cans), I am passionate about recycling and always exited to hear that Americans get more interested in it as well.
In Germany, my parents separate and recycle white, green, and brown glass (as plastic bottles are hardly used, I think they are actually banned), aluminum, paper, compostable items, and plastic trash.
My mother brings the glass to a local collection point, and the other recycling items get picked up with the remaining trash that cannot be recycled.
Since my parents recycle so much, they only put the trashcan with the unrecyclable trash out once in a while! Since you pay for every full trashcan that gets picked up, people have a real incentive to separate their trash and recycle.
I wish recycling were easier here; I think more people would do the right thing and do it more. For example, I find that getting rid of used batteries, a major source of pollution if they get thrown out with the regular trash, is almost impossible.
I cringe every time I see a battery on the ground, often driven over many times and broken, because I know what this will do to our environment. In California, I used to be able to return my used batteries to Radio Shack and other electronics stores, and they would have to take them, but when I showed up with my first bag of used batteries at a Radio Shack here in New York, they just looked at me stunned.
For a while the local library had a drop-off, but I haven’t seen a container in months, and my bag is getting full again, thanks to all of Landon’s toys (see my post about noisy toys!).
I guess I will HAVE to go to Ikea to do the right thing and recycle my batteries (and pick up a few items while I am there :)).
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