A little while back I finally started recycling.  I always thought that doing so would lend some relief to the years of guilt I had from not starting recycling sooner. That hasn’t really been the case though.

First off, I have way more things to recycle than I ever knew. It piles up so quickly and it looks like I have mountains of trash in the corner of my kitchen. That makes me feel even more guilt than I did when I wasn’t recycling, simply because I am constantly reminded of all the years that I tossed my paper and plastic without giving it much thought. Then I think of all of the people who don’t recycle and how much stuff goes into landfills and I get all in a frenzy of anxiety over the environment and how wasteful the entire world is.

And, if you want to know the truth, recycling is a pain in the you know what.

When you take it to the recycling bins you have to separate it all out. I don’t have enough space in my kitchen for separate bins for paper, newspaper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum cans and steel cans, so I just pile it all together. Then I have to load my car down with it and go through it piece by piece when I get to the bins in town. A lot of times there is barely enough room to squeeze anymore plastic into the bins, and sometimes there isn’t any room, so I have to just leave it in the car and wait for another day.

Recycling is also confusing. I mean, my egg cartons say I can recycle them and some styrofoam things I get say I can recycle them, but I don’t know which bin to put them in or if there is even a bin to put them in around here. And why do all of the plastics have a different number and which plastics are actually acceptable to put into the plastic recycling bins here in town? It really is enough to make me crazy sometimes.

I know I could cut down on a lot if I would give up drinking store-bought water, but I just can’t do it anytime soon. I swear when I get a sip of our tap water it tastes just like I’m swigging out of the Clorox bottle. I just can’t stand it.

As aggravating as I find recycling, I am happy to do it and I’d rather be annoyed and confused by it than to feel like I’m doing nothing at all except taking up space and helping destroy the planet.

Something I have become concerned with lately is the disposal of clothing that is no longer fit to wear. As someone who shops at thrift stores religiously, I know that people do not buy clothes that have stains and holes in them, so it does no good to donate those.

I am trying to declutter, so I don’t want a bunch of cut up shirts and pants to under my sink to use as dishrags, which I know is a good use for clothing that is ruined. I’d like to figure out how to recycle clothing and shoes but haven’t found anything local yet. If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Even though I know it means I might have an even harder time finding space in the plastic recycling bins, I want to encourage everyone to give recycling a try. Out of sight, out of mind is an easy mentality when you’re just throwing all your garbage in the trash. But when you actually start thinking about what you’re throwing away, where it goes and what you could do to cut down, it becomes very eye opening. It’s worth the headache, I swear.

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