I have recently relocated to the city of Knoxville, Tennessee and have been pleasantly startled by the extent of the consideration towards environmental friendliness the city has as a whole. Everywhere I look this is evidenced – just the other day I was driving and noticed a message stating “This vehicle operates on clean biofuel” on the back of a city bus. To see an entire city displaying such environmental awareness and dedication to sustainability is definitely encouraging!
More and more, this is becoming the norm for cities. As their inhabitants are educating themselves on the need to preserve our environment and treat it with care, they come to expect and often demand that the city they live in take steps to do. In the case of Knoxville, trees are planted, biofuels and other clean energy sources are used, public transportation is accessible and convenient, and most of all recycling programs are implemented. This isn’t just exclusive to Knoxville, either. Dozens of cities now offer curbside pickup, and failing that there is still almost always some form of dedicated recycling center in place.
Recycling as a Lifestyle
As the scale of the institutions that are now backing eco-friendly living continues to increase, it is becoming increasingly realistic for everyday people to reprioritize and reorganize their lives to do the same. This does not have to be a major upheaval, as simple things like recycling can be the first major steps taken to great benefit, and without the need for inconvenient or uncomfortable changes. Consider what is necessary for recycling:
– You purchase the same products you always purchase, or if you’re ambitious take a little extra time to notice the type of packaging products come in and opt for those that are able to be recycled.
– When it’s time to discard plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, newspapers and other things, instead you set them aside in bags or boxes tucked away underneath sinks, inside closets or out of the way in the garage.
– If your city offers curbside pickup of recyclable goods then you simply place the bagged recyclables outside with the rest of your trash. If not, then you set aside about an hour (give or take) once a month to bring your collected materials to your local recycling center.
Considerations for Recycling
Prior to beginning to collect and separate your recyclables, it is wise to take some time to research the kinds of materials your city’s recycling program can accept. Not all cities are equipped to deal with every kind of material which is able to be recycled. For example, in Clearwater, Florida where I used to live they simply stopped taking glass products altogether. Before you spend extra time washing and storing all these items, check around on your city’s website or get in touch with local officials to find out what is accepted and what is not.
Some cities have independent recycling centers that will still pay you for bringing in certain recyclable goods. The city I lived in before Knoxville, New Tazewell, Tennessee has a center that pays people to bring in aluminum cans or any other kind of scrap metal, big or small.
Recycling is of immeasurable importance as our society, and humanity as a whole, reexamines its priorities and restructures its way of life in order to coexist with the natural balance of things and live sustainable and healthy lives. Like the song says, the old road is rapidly gaining, please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand.