I want to share a shout-out to my neighbors for their efforts and offer some ideas for ways you can help be a little more green/zero waste.
I’m sharing the results of several collections my neighborhood all did over the last couple of weeks:
- They provided three big boxes of paper grocery bags for reuse at the Gateway Church Feed the Community Food Pantry. They literally ran out of bags as soon as I walked in to deliver these so this was such a godsend for them.
- We filled up a small box and two bags of utensils for Mobile Loaves & Fishes.
- I accepted 6 houses-worth of Styrofoam to drop off at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. Packed tight, that is one Honda Civic’s worth of Styrofoam that did not end up in the landfill which is melted on site and sold for reuse.
Appointments are still required to drop off items at the City recycling center. It takes about 15 minutes to drive down there, it took me 7 minutes to unload all this (I am a regular and block leader so keep that in mind) and like 20 minutes to get home because I needed to go back via I35.
If you have questions about setting up an appointment, which you can do at the site I link above, have never gone, or want to learn more, please let me know I’d be happy to go over the experience with you. If you don’t have enough items for one trip, consider asking your block or posting on your neighborhood’s social media pages and offer to take a few households. Styrofoam takes up the most room so either ask for pictures to gauge the space or set a household limit of 4-6. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center accepts soo much stuff, check out the list today and let me know if you’re unsure or can’t find an item listed.
If you don’t live in Austin, same process applies for your local recycling facility. If you don’t have enough to justify a trip, connect with a few neighbors to make a trip worthwhile. You may also make some new friends.
A reminder on plastic utensils: these are not recyclable in Austin because they jam the recycling sorting machines.
- While Mobile Loaves & Fishes and occasional other missions reuse these, keeping them out of the landfill, very few organizations overall are interested in these so it is best to refuse single-use utensils. Ideally people would donate/fund reusable utensils for those in need to keep for themselves for reuse any time they receive food. This reduces waste for everyone, because after the utensils are used by Mobile Loaves & Fishes guests, the utensils still end up in the trash.
- If you do not want to donate/store utensils, you can recycle the plastic bag with other plastic bags at a store drop-off center (https://how2recycle.info/sdo) and compost the chopsticks (great for crafts!), napkin, salt and pepper. The plastic utensils and sauce packets would go in the trash.
What sort of collections to you offer to make for your neighbors, friends or family?