Thursday, August 5, 2010


I celebrated a small victory this week. My landlord informed me that he would be providing a recycling bin for our apartment complex. Upon the first week of moving into the apartment I quickly realized that we only had access to a dumpster for waste disposal. After several years of research and commitment on/to the issue of recycling, it is one of my most devoted environmental causes. So, I resorted to collecting my recyclables and dropping them off once a week to a recycling facility seven miles away from my apartment. I had to remind my busy but helpful landlord a few times and after only two months of living in the apartment I have won my small battle. No more weekly visits to the recycling park!

After getting to know one of my neighbors I came to find out that she too has an interest in environmentally conscious living. When I informed her of the change she was excited that I had spoken up. My landlord was really the one who had done the foot work so I have to recognize his efforts. He relayed to me that the city of Mesa controls the waste management systems in our area. For small apartment complexes such as mine, a landlord has two options for trash receptacles. The first option is to simply have one shared dumpster that is emptied several times a week. The second option is to give each tenant one can for trash and one can for recycling. In our apartment complex that would result in sixteen different cans. We would be individually responsible for taking each can out on its designated collection day. With a small parking lot and surrounding area this simply would not be logical. I can understand why my landlord chose the dumpster. My landlord explained that in order to receive just one recycling can he would have apply and have special clearance from the city of Mesa. Yes, all that work for just one silly recycling bin. But, that silly little recycling bin will prevent almost 5,000 pounds of waste a year from entering a landfill (based on a three person household).

I admit, it has become somewhat of an obsession. I cringe every time I see someone toss a soda can or glass bottle into the trash. Unlike plastic, both aluminum and glass can endless be recycled. But, every time I see them tossed away I know that cycle has just ended. Sometimes it takes extra effort to ensure your families right to conserve. Sometimes it means hanging onto that bottle until you get home to dispose of it. Sometimes it means contacting local waste management operations to have recycling options available to you. The key is to understand why it is important and act upon your findings. I believe that small victories such as mine are proof that individual efforts do make a difference.


  1. Huzzah! Maddie this is so great. I feel strongly about recycling too. When we first moved to England and we were in temporary housing Adam and I stored all our recyclables (cardboard, tin cans, milk jugs, etc.) behind our couch because there was no recycling option available. Once we got our car, 40 days later, we drove it to the recycling center. It was a pain but recycling is worth it.

  2. That is so awesome, Rachel! Good for you!! I would think that England would be more advanced than the US in these sorts of issues. That's surprising.