By: Lexi Smith
Most people I know recycle. Some do it better than others; and there are some who – against the social acceptance (and expectation) of this practice – still do not recycle. My mother is one of them. It shames me a bit to admit that I come from a non-recycling family, but it is what it is. Last week, I decided to delve into this issue to see if I could figure out why she adamantly refuses to recycle. She has curbside pick up in her neighborhood and bins to sort her recycling . . . so, what’s the problem? It turns out there are actually three fairly legitimate reasons why she doesn’t recycle:
- Lack of space. Curbside pick up only happens every other week. If she forgets one week – she’s stuck with almost a month of recycling trash in her garage. She is convinced that this will attract critters, and it just doesn’t look very nice.
Simple solution: We went to IKEA and picked up stylish bins – with lids – and agreed that rinsing out the cans, jars, and jugs would prevent smelly, critter-related problems.
- Too confusing. She was overwhelmed with (mis)information about what plastics are the right ones to recycle. Can you recycle magazines – or is it just newspapers . . . ? She had lots of questions and didn’t know where to find the answers.
Simple solution: We looked online for an easy guide to help her figure it all out:
We also logged onto the City’s website for more information specific to Pittsburgh residents:
- Bad press. She really didn’t believe that her lack of recycling had a global impact. She was also convinced that trash for recycling was being shipped to landfills, or worse, to third world countries. In her defense, she pointed to two real claims of this occurring:
Simple solution: Read the myriad information on the positive impact of recycling and accept that there will be exceptions to the rule. Bad stuff happens – but, in this case, the good definitely trumps the bad. She couldn’t argue with that.
This week she dutifully lugged her recycling to the curb. She may have only done it to please me – and not because she cares about the environment – but she did it none-the-less. More importantly, she did it because she now knows that recycling is mandatory for every resident, business, office, and institution in the City of Pittsburgh (City Code 619). I’m not sure that the City can actually enforce mandatory recycling – but, if you live in the City, there are clear guidelines on doing your part to help the environment. You can find out more at: http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/pw/html/regulations_and_guidelines.htm. Happy recycling!
Lexi Smith is a lifestyle guru for the woman seeking positive change. She is owner and creative director of Being Fabulous!, a consultation and personal shopping service designed to help clients achieve a higher quality of life by finding their own signature style.