single frame: Recycled


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35-80mm f/4-5.6 Maxxum AF Zoom
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400


We got one of these enormous recycle bins recently.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit I’ve never recycled at home before this. Only a little embarrassed, because I’m not convinced that home recycling is going to change the world. But at least we’re now making an effort not to add to the vast islands of plastic currently floating in our oceans.

I would have continued not recycling were it not for Margaret. It bothered her a lot that we weren’t doing it, so she asked me to call the trash company and ask for a bin. It came the other day. Good heavens, but is the bin huge. It takes up a lot of space in the garage.

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37 responses to “single frame: Recycled”

  1. brandib1977 Avatar

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give for curbside recycling. I don’t recycle very much because I have to pack it in my car and drive it fifteen miles into town. Plus, I don’t have a great place to store it to accumulate at home.

    Isn’t it funny the things that make some time “meh” make others swoon a bit? :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s all relative I suppose! Services I take for granted in the suburbs that just aren’t a thing in the country.

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        It certainly is. We can’t even get county water service where I live. Lol. Enjoy your recycling!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          You might be amused to know that my last house, well within the Indianapolis city limits, didn’t have county water service either! I had a well, and until the last few years I lived there, a septic tank.

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Oh my goodness! My sympathies to you! Our local leaders have been threatening to get county water out here for years. I can see the end of the line less than a mile down the road….

        2. Jim Grey Avatar

          It was nice having no water or sewer bill. And my well water tasted a ton better than Indianapolis city water. I was kind of relieved when they pushed the sewer through my neighborhood, though, as my septic was 40+ years old and near the end of its natural life. It was less expensive to hook to sewer than to replace the septic. If you search around here you’ll find a bunch of posts where I chronicled the sewer project.

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            We are always worried about this aging well and septic system. The fear of running out of water is prominent and the expense of a new septic system in my county is almost cost prohibitive. I would gladly pay for water just to ease some of the concern.

            My water tastes ok but it’s hard and leaves everything orange. Consequently, I don’t own any white clothes or linens. It’s just not worth the heartache!

        3. Jim Grey Avatar

          My well water was hard and tinted things orange as well. I had a water softener, so I put in the “rust remover” salt. It let me have white clothes. The well failed just before I bought the house; the previous owners spent something like $7,000 to drill a new one.

          At my previous house, less than a mile away, the city had run water lines out. We connected to them and it cost far less than that. Maybe only about $2,000, but my memories are sketchy as it was 20 years ago.

          Connecting to sewer at my last house cost only about $5,000. Way less than putting in a new septic system.

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Public sewer will never be an option where I live but I will be over the moon if county water ever comes through.

            These things are so expensive when you’re doing them on your own.

        4. Andy Umbo Avatar
          Andy Umbo

          I’m always amazed at how vital clean water is to a community and how haphazard the delivery is in a lot of places! I’ve got pals that live 30 miles from San Francisco, and they have well water that has to be run through a glass tube in their system, with a lit UV coil around it! Lots to be done yet in a lot of places!

          1. brandib1977 Avatar

            Agreed! I live in a very rural area. The county has 13,000 people in 411 square miles and just one traffic light. There are areas where people have to haul their water in because their wells are gone dry. Sadly, many will never see county water but they can’t afford to sell because of their water situation.

            I try to be grateful that I do have water and that it is safe to drink.

  2. J P Avatar

    We still don’t have a bin for recycling, so you were not the last.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      For what it’s worth, I don’t feel superior!

  3. DougD Avatar

    Sheesh, we’ve been doing it for 20 years. It doesn’t save the world but it does reduce our waste stream quite a bit. Having worked in aluminium smelters and knowing how much trouble it is to make the stuff I will admit to being a bit fanatical about metals recycling.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      We’re noticing the huge reduction in waste stream as well.

      1. DougD Avatar

        The food scraps bin makes a big difference too, but it can be tough to manage in hot weather and we have had some disgusting incidents with “the stinky box”.

        Still it’s pretty amazing on garbage day sometimes when we have yard waste in paper bags, two blue boxes of recycling, the green stinky box and a little tiny bag of garbage out!

  4. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Mandatory residential and business recycling in Milwaukee since 1990. That’s over 30 years ago. Garbage pick-up is also a city service, not a private service contracted by the city, as it is in Indianapolis.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Mandatory recycling? That’s communism!!!!!!!1! Or at least that’s how Hoosiers would react if the idea were floated. Also: within the old city limits, trash pickup is a city service. Or at least it used to be; I haven’t paid much attention since I left.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        Jim, you made me laugh this morning, because that’s exactly how people would look at it in Indy! You can imagine me saying “..where the hell did I move to…” when after the first week at work, I was walking around the office looking for the white paper recycling bin, and found out it didn’t exist! BTW, it’s been mandatory everywhere I’ve lived except Indy!

  5. Michael McNeill Avatar

    Surprising you’re only getting to this now – even here in rural Northern Ireland we’ve been recycling from home for nigh on 20 years. It’s usually the first bin to fill up.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s been available in most Indiana cities at least that long, although I’m betting it’s not available in most rural areas. But Indiana isn’t the kind of state to make it mandatory. I’ve never been opposed to home recycling, but until Margaret came along I always managed to find some other priority and never got around to ordering the bin.

  6. Olli Thomson Avatar
    Olli Thomson

    Great shot. I love pictures of bins.

    I think you reach a point were recycling becomes second nature and it seems strange to dump bottles, plastics and the rest in landfill. I don’t think it will change the world either on its own but at least it makes us think a little about how much we waste. Sadly, there’s also a bad kind of recycling where our western waste – particularly plastics – gets dumped on poorer countries that don’t have the capacity to manage it. There’s a new international agreement in place to prevent this but the US – to our shame – opposes it.

    Socialist! Whatever. I see it as an expression of what you were talking about in your post yesterday. Being responsible for the world is one of the ways we recognize this is God’s world and we have a duty of care for how we live in it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There is a strong streak in the US that resists government telling us we have to do things. It’s the dark side of our rugged individualism. The bright side of it has led to many great things, however.

      Plastics being dumped on poorer countries is part of my worry with recycling. Is my recycling being handled ethically?

  7. Marc Beebe Avatar

    We have recycled things for decades. At one point there was no market for it, and the material ended up in the landfill anyway. It has now reached the point where in order for it to be truly viable there are going to have to be major changes at the manufacturing end to allow recycling of more material. As it is now there is too much burden placed on the consumer.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I remember when there was little or no market for recycling, and now that you mention it that is the reason I didn’t do it when it first became available here.

  8. thedullchannel Avatar

    Germany is quite religious about recycling. Personally I have never really been convinced of its effectiveness. Maybe sorting facilities would be better. We have four bins and some stuff needs to be brought to special yards. The rules what goes where are just confusing. Some paper is for the paper bin, milk cartons are for the plastics and packaging bin, plastic itself is the residual bin. And plastic food containers need to be washed (which wastes water, heat and detergent). I feel for many it is like a religious ceremony. But hey…I am a cynic anyway ;-)

    This guy has written a lot about recycling from an economics perspective:

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve heard about Germany’s recycling rules. It fits right into the stereotype of Germans loving their rules! :-) It does sound like an awful lot of work for an unclear benefit.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        Plus one for The DullChannel. I’m 100% for recycling, but there hasn’t been a time I haven’t wondered about the whole process of cleaning out stuff with detergent and fresh water, etc. Is the process of recycling on a personal level, actually a larger impact on the environment vs. other options. Brandi B can’t get copious amounts of fresh water, and I’m using it to wash out a cottage cheese tub? But I don’t want the tub to go in the land fill! But…but…?

        I read someplace a long time ago, that the whole key to recycling is to use less stuff. Recycled food plastic can’t be used to make more food plastic, just other plastic stuff. So, you’re just supposed to use less of everything. I guess in the best system, I would bring my clean, glass, resealable tub down to the grocery store and spoon out cottage cheese from a 55 gallon drum of cottage cheese! Actually, for a lot of stuff, that’s the way it works with dry goods at my old hippy co-op down the block!

  9. tbm3fan Avatar

    We have had recycle bins for some years here in the Bay Area. I finally had a place to stick all my junk mail in after removing the plastic window if present. The large can gets lots of paper, glass beer bottles, metal cans, aluminum, and #1 plastic all of which I used to have to drop off at a recycle center before since I abhorred throwing it in the trash. My trash can in now small and gets only one bag a week.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The plastic is the thing that worries me the most. I hope our recycling provider has a good way to handle it.

  10. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    We’ve had single stream recycling for fifteen years at least (and before that, sorting) but it’s bit of a racket… understanding is there’s no market right now for quite a bit of the stuff people put in their bins, at least in the U.S. domestically. For some time China was taking a lot of U.S. plastic waste to make into other stuff but they put the kibosh on it because it just didn’t pencil out economically speaking. And besides, single stream has turned a lot of people pretty lazy, it’s common knowledge that the general public puts too many things in their bins that aren’t appropriate for recycling or having been cleaned properly, like other readers have pointed out. When in doubt, a lot of folks toss “whatever” in their bins.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve heard that’s a real problem. We’re being good about putting in only what’s allowed and making sure it’s clean. I wonder if a year from now we’ll still be as careful.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        My apartment owner is skirting the local laws by just having pulled the single stream recycling dumpster from the trash area, because he’s been fined by his trash company many times for having food trash and unrecyclables in the recycling dumpster, so they have to trash the whole thing. Unfortunately, I now live in the circumstances that people in the socio/economic group that I can afford to live with, are either clueless, uneducated, or just don’t care. I’ve seen people from my window, get out of their cars, dump “car-trash” right next to their car door, on the ground, and walk by the dumpster on the way in to the building! This is why people pay $2500 bucks for an apartment in the suburbs, to avoid this quartile. Too bad I’m on a fixed income.

  11. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    btw, that yellow lid is ghastly :-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar


  12. Khürt Williams Avatar

    We’ve been recycling for decades. I though this was normal.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Recycling happened in different places around the country at different times, for a whole bunch of reasons.

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