To be honest, I hate recycling. If the future of the planet didn’t depend on it, you can be sure I wouldn’t do it. It’s so complicated and way more work than just throwing stuff out. But since I have grandchildren who I am hoping will be able to breathe the air, survive the increased temperature and swim in the seas long after I am gone, I recycle. The glass, the cardboard, the whole catastrophe. I also repurpose, which I guess you could say is a form of recycling.
Remember those Chianti bottles in college that became candle holders for those sultry, romantic nights with your boy (girl) friend? They’re probably still sitting on the window sill in my apartment on Division Street in Ann Arbor, waiting for some new college student’s hopeful lover to come for a candlelight dinner.
Jam jars for leftovers, street trash for art project, dryer lint to make paper. Even broken ceramics to put in the bottom of planters. There are endless ways to reuse the things we have and no longer need. A friend of mine takes old books, cuts out the center of them and makes beautiful art projects of them.
Aren’t hand-me-downs a form of recycling? When I was young, my older cousin gave me all her beautiful clothes (a tweed woolen snow suit with leather knees I remember the most.) When I outgrew them my mother turned them over to the Shinnecock Indian Tribe near where we lived on Long Island. I hope their children enjoyed them. When we grew up, I was bigger than my cousin, so she inherited clothes from me instead. But she also became a fanatic recycler of sorts. Making beautiful quilts out of old clothes. Women, by the way, have been recycling ties and clothing and torn cloth in the form of quilts for centuries.
I recycled all of Richard’s Hawaiian shirts with the original coconut buttons by giving them to a short lawyer friend, the only man I knew who they would fit and who would wear them in Hawaii. All the rest of RIchard’s clothes and shoes went to various grandchildren (who have long since outgrown them, since he was 5’5″ tall and they are 6′ and taller!) I loved seeing them worn by them; it was a way he lived on. The boys have passed them on to their younger cousins and friends.
I try to find ways to reuse as much as I can because frankly, separating the top from the bottom of the greasy pizza box just isn’t my cup of tea. But I haven’t yet found a way to repurpose that. So I do take my green bin down to the compost regularly. And separate everything from everything else like a good person. I just don’t enjoy it. Harumph.