We’ve been on the island for almost two months now and haven’t taken one thing to one of the four recycling centers on the island. It’s embarrassing, and frankly it had become a problem in our garage. Is this box something that needs to be unpacked? Nope, just recycling waiting to find its home.
Recycling in the city is pretty simple. Paper, plastic, newspaper, aluminum…all of it…just put it into the big blue bin and roll it out with the trash bin on trash day. Here on the island, not so.
A week after our arrival, I searched for the nearest recycling location and reviewed the rules: sort glass bottles by color, separate cardboard and flatten, rinse all cans and bottles, remove paper from tin cans and flatten….by all means separate everything. This tended to give me a little anxiety about doing this all right.
Flatten the tin cans? I stared at the two bags of cans, mostly dog food cans and made attempts to flatten them with a hammer, with my foot…nope, not going to happen. From there I went to Ace Hardware in search for a sledge hammer. Standing in the tool section staring at the 10 different sledge hammers available, I must have looked stressed or perhaps it was because I’d been standing there for 30 minutes, but I was offered help.
“It’s this recycling thing. I have to flatten the cans? It says here, I have to flatten these cans. How do I do this? I’m thinking a sledge hammer, but surely there is an easier way.”
The sales associate looked humored or possibly just thought I was crazy. She let me know that I didn’t need to flatten cans as the website instructed and she was sorry that I didn’t need a sledgehammer today after all.
So I went back to the house, sorted my recyclables, loaded up my car and found my way down to Island Recycling in Freeland. I had imagined large industrial bins, but instead found a collage of recycled goods turned into art. This eased my recycle anxiety a bit.
As I began to unload my car, I received a couple of strange looks. Yes, this is my first time doing this recycling thing in the country. Yes, I’m from the city. Yes, I may need help. They guided me through the process, reminding me that lids in no way go on the plastic bottles, as if I needed a reminder because there were signs posted all around me.
An hour later, my recycling had been placed in all the appropriate bins, without lids and paper wrappers and I didn’t even have to crush those pesky cans.