Does Recycling Work in the United States?

This site is mainly about solar water heaters but I want to throw some things in about the environment and green living too.

So let’s talk about recycling.

I started a recycling club in my high school in the mid 90s and it’s still going strong today.

But as I age as an adult and I live in a town that “requires” recycling, I start to question the whole “hassle” that I take to clean out and organize the recyclable items.


It’s not because I don’t want to do that right thing or to help the environment.

At one point in my life I actually was thinking about making one of those houses from recycled materials.

You know the ones!

The ones that are party in the side of a hill or completely made out of the thousands of tires that people throw in rivers and on the road side.

Speaking of tires, if you ever do a tire pick up in a river, be prepared.

The number of tires that are in North Eastern Rivers are ridiculous.  I don’t even know how people justify throwing that many tires in a river but I promise you …it’s insane.

How do I know this?

I did a tire pick up one year with a bunch of people in canoes.

Talk about insanity.

We piled the tires so high on our canoes it’s a wonder that they didn’t tip over…..but if they did, tires do float for a little while.

So let’s get back to recycling.

Recycling is a great choice as long as there if follow through.

I have seen too many times now where people start recycling programs with the best intentions and even use grants to get things going and then the follow through is horrendous.

It’s not just at a local level either.

I’ve seen entire cities abuse the whole recycling thing and it’s insane.

I would spend time to sort my recycled materials and put them in the their correct bins and piles for garbage day.

Imagine my dismay when I was home a couple of times and NEVER saw the recycling truck.

9 times out of 10 on recycling day, I would see the unsorted garbage and the recycle bin contents go into the exact same truck.

Totally sucks.

Here I am thinking I’m doing something for the environment and following my city code and there they are totally breaking their own code.


I have no clue.

Not a single one.

It’s frustrating.

Why have recycling laws, recycling containers and the “image” that you are green only to not be green at all?

Did the city think that no one watches what goes on on garbage day? maybe it it weird to watch a garbage truck but I like two things about it.

1. I love the big machine.  The strength and the the stuff is can crush is absolutely amazing to me.

2. The men on the truck intrigue me. I always wonder if it is their profession of choice, what they favorite type of garbage can is and what the most strange thing they’ve ever seen in a garbage can might be.

A couple of months ago a couple garbage men found a baby in the garbage can.

That is horrible.

I wonder how many babies are found in garbage cans that aren’t saved.

What will the aliens think of our society when they land and take over and start doing archeological digs?

Who knows.

So…does recycling work in the United States?

Yes, when the lazy Americans actually follow through with the projects they start.

I am American, don’t get me wrong, but I live around thousands of Americans who don’t do jack shit.

They have grand ideas and great minds but no gusto to follow through with much of anything and it’s not just in the trenches…it’s all the way up the ladder.

It’s sad really.

What has happened to the “American work ethic?”

Do we take no pride in hard work anymore?

Maybe all the hard workers are hiding inside on their computers getting to take over the world.

Probably the smart thing to do.

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