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Redneck recycling

Okay, so maybe I’m not the most environmentally-conscious guy around, but I do try to use recycled material and make use of the recycling bin when I think of it.  (Hey, I even re-use the bubble-wrap from my online purchases…Yah me!)
I read an article in today’s Oregonian about how China has banned “free plastic shopping-bags” in all retail stores. Maybe they’re running low on materials for their “toxic-toys to America” program, who knows?
Anyway, this got me thinking about how many of those plastic shopping bags I have under the sink right now (tons!) and reminded me that I’m really not interested in buying a bunch of $6.00-each cloth bags at my local grocery store just to save the planet.
I only shop about every two weeks, and I bring 8-10 bags home each time, so that’s a chunk o’change to buy enough bags, and, on a side note, they all have the store name and logo on them, and I take umbrage at paying to do their advertising for them (just a personal pet-peeve.)
So I figured, what we need here is a good ol’ American-style compromise…
Here’s what I did…
I took a dozen or so of those planet-killing plastic bags that are under the sink, put them in ANOTHER planet-killing plastic bag and put them in the truck of my ozone-eating car to use the next time I go shopping. I mean, those bags are have already been made and done all the polluting they’re going to right? But, if I use them again, I save future generations from the global impact of making 12 more!
I figure that each bag should be good for at least a half-dozen trips to the store. Cost to me….zip!
This may sound tongue-in-cheek, but if we all could all cut our plastic-bag usage by even 50%, that would be a pretty solid impact, without significant detriment to the easier-is-better lifestyle that we all know and love, right?
(That formula, btw, is LR + EOR x EI = LOG. Where LR = Lazy redneck, EOR = Ease of recycling, EI = Environmental impact, and LOG = Lack of guilt.) That’s a half-semester of college math right there, baby!
Besides, I figure I can now buy a couple extra guilt-free aerosol bottles of squeeze-cheese a month without enlarging my “environmental-footprint.”
Ahh, it’s good to be green.
PS – Anything ideas can add to the “Redneck recycling list?”

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14 thoughts on “Redneck recycling

  1. Come now…reusable bags are only $.88 at Winco and $.98 at Freddie’s! Not that I have too many, yet. We mostly shop at Costco and skip bags entirely. A family of 8.6 can buy 12 hearts and use them all before they go bad.

    Bryan and I are constantly arguing the green issues. I want to install a device that shunts gray water from the bathroom sinks to the toilet tanks, he wants to flush with clean water. I want rain barrels and a pump to water the yard. He thinks I am an eco freak. I just gave my sil all my cloth diapers since Bry vetoed their use in our family. Sigh. I am trying.

    My latest stroke of eco genius is computing the mpg per person. Sure, someone else’s car gets 30 mpg while my van gets 13. But my van routinely carries 7 to 8 people and that sedan might routinely carry 1 or 2. See, we are doing our part for the environment by using mass transit!

  2. Can we amend that to read

    …can buy 12 hearts of romaine…

    Placenta brain strikes again.

  3. “See, we are doing our part for the environment by using mass transit!”

    Sure, but what about in a couple of years from now when you have to upgrade to a school bus?



  4. Mary Lou on said:

    The biggest pet peeve in our house over recycling is their random changes. We would start out doing the good green family thing and bring out our recycle box to the curb after carefully double checking everything so that it is rinsed and without caps etc… Every week we find half our stuff left in the box. We called and asked for a list of what they accept. We followed the list to the letter, only to find half our stuff still in the box, and heres the kicker they would accept different things on different days. One day an empty milk jug is great, next week that’s just not what they are looking for and as a special treat when we are really lucky we also get half the items dumped around the box as they searched for the “special” recycle items that were needed. My wife still valiantly tries to decode their ever changing needs. I on the other hand am now asking how much it costs to upgrade the size of our trash can so we can just dump all of it.
    I am all for helping, but quite honestly I am not willing to sacrifice that many hours every week figuring out thier ever changing system.
    Meg I am surprised Bryan isn’t more eco minded. Is it because they blame some of global warming on cows? I know he is a BIG cow lover.

  5. Wow, two cow jokes in one day…



  6. Please, be gentle with me but, the only “green” efforts I make are the ones that save me time, money, or convenience. So my motives are purely self-centered, not earth-centered. The biggest reason I scoff at most of this is, the supposed environmentalist still refuse to do what I think makes the most sense. It’s called Waste-to-Energy. We have a plant right here in Brooks. A friend of mine works there and explained that it is the safest way to dispose of waste. Those furnaces burn so hot, and go through so many smoke stacks, that they air that is released after burning things like refridgerators and and heavy debris, is in essence – steam. And all the while, they generate enough electricity that they could power all of Woodburn. So why don’t we have these plants all over the infamous tree-hugger state of Oregon? Too many acres available for landfills. Apparantly land is cheaper than building these plants. So it just makes me wonder how “real” the problem is.

  7. Having spent 5 years of my life in a college tree hugger program, I dont want to be named one of their associates (trust me they are scarier than on TV), but I have actually switched to the reusable bags. I got my on sale at Freddies for $0.50 each plus was given another. Winco gives me a small discount each time I use the bags. For me, what won me over, was putting a 10 lb bag of flour and a 10lb bag of sugar in one bag , not only was the heavy bag more comfortable on my hands while carrying, but IT DIDNT BREAK! Sold! What is ironic though is sometimes I have to purposely leave them at home so I can get enough of the required paper bags in order to do my curb side recycling!

  8. Those plastic bags are great for lining small garbage cans (in the bathroom) and i also got some of those nifty cloth bags for FREE at Freddies the first week they had them because I was supporting the American economy so well. They are currently filled with…uh…laundry or they’re in the back of my car filled with good intentions!

    I’m a “religious” recycler (gotta be religious about something) and make sure nothing gets dumped that shouldn’t.

  9. I have been contemplating the cloth bags. I just took back a huge bag full of plastic bags to the grocery store and still have plenty of others. Now that my youngest is not using diapers or pull-ups we don’t really use them that much–just the kitty litter every couple of days. I hate the mess of the plastic bags so I think I’ll make the switch–was actually planning on starting to purchase a bag every week or two–or make my own from my fabric stash. I just don’t think re-using the plastic works for me since they barely make it home with one load of groceries.
    As far as curbside, we are blessed with our company–they gave us a HUGE rolling bin–just like our garbage can. It holds more than our garbage. We just put everything in there all together–no sorting except for glass and (if we had any) any chemicals. The bin is only collected every other week and glass once a month in a separate bin–common sense here. It’s so much easier to recycle now.

  10. Xbound on said:

    Envirepel Energy-
    “”New Power Plant To Convert Garbage To Energy
    Initial Permit Lets Plant Run On Wood Waste Products
    Nicole Ward, NBC 7/39 Reporter

    POSTED: 7:41 pm PDT September 13, 2007
    UPDATED: 10:40 am PDT September 14, 2007

    VISTA, Calif. — When you think of a power plant, smoke stacks and dirty air may come to mind. But one company in Vista is hoping to change that perception by building a green power plant.

    Envirepel Energy is building a green power plant with super low emissions, and a process whereby every byproduct is recyclable, NBC 7/39 reported.

    The company obtained a permit last October, to begin converting wood into fuel. The permit also covers yard waste, trees, and houses that have been torn down. If it wants to convert something else into fuel, it needs a new permit, but it’s optimistic about the future.

    “Eventually we can fire this off anything from ground wood to ground up poopy diapers,” says director of research and development Ric Wade. He adds, plastics that aren’t recyclable, even garbage, which has gotten kind of a bad rap.

    “They don’t understand that we’re not burning the garbage, because the temperature we’re operating at, the garbage gasifies. So what we’re burning is gas,” said Wade.

    The new green plant is expected to be online this fall. The energy will be fed to the power grid and distributed by San Diego Gas & Electric with the ability to power 1,700 homes.””

    So poopy diapers could save us all….so it will good to have lots of kids again.

  11. Mr. E. Nigma on said:

    I guess since we’re ‘pet peeving’ the recycling movement, I’ll offer mine. My biggest gripe is that it’s never good enough. No matter how much you do it’s not enough. You recycle cardboard, great! But what about your gas guzzleing truck, drive a hybrid car (different soap box for a different day) awesome, but you still use electric heat! You dirty son of a farting cow!

    I’m also tired of the gloom and doom, it’s so… exhausting. I remember when I was a kid they we’re telling us that there would be acid rain, no trees (except the one in the tree museums), and other gloomy stuff that made old indian guys cry (remeber that commercial?).

    Why does it always have to be ‘worst case senario’? Why can’t they just say ‘It makes the air clean’, I not opposed to beathing clean air, and niether are those evil Republicans.

    Why can’t the environmentalist realize that you can replant a tree, so cutting one down to build a house, or a boat, or a deck, or a wall around the southern part of Arizona, is not a Greek freakin’ trajedy. Last time I checked grass gives off oxygen too, I don’t see anyone picketing when I cut my lawn! Why? BECAUSE IT GROWS BACK!!!

    P.S. I ask for paper bags.

  12. My husband and I sell sandals made from recycled car tires. To ship these, we iron those plastic grocery bags together to form some bloody strong envelopes.

    The recipe can be found here:


    I often forget my cloth bags. 😦 But at least I know my plastics will find new life!

  13. Laurel,

    That is an amazingly good idea!

    Thanks so much for the link and instructions, I might start sending my book orders out like this!


  14. linksubs on said:

    Enough of the cow jokes already 😉

    Seriously. There is a Planet Ark endorsed web site witha brilliant way of recycling. You gotta tell everyone about this new and innovative way to recycle.

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