06 August 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

My wife and I have been working on "going green" for a while now, and we were thrilled to discover our county has resumed operating a recycling center. My grandmother has been doing some major cleaning and so I made sure to nudge her in the direction of taking a greener approach to her purge than just discarding everything into the trash. Her being 71 years old (and schooled in the arts of manipulation), I've been recruited to help her with some of her project lately, including loading up the recycling and taking it.

Among the items we've taken yesterday and today are: a bin full of plastic bottles that has been accumulating for about a month now; some flattened cardboard boxes; a handful of old phone books and several electronics items. We still had the record player/stereo system from when we owned the consignment shop, and even though the speakers still work and it will play cassettes, the phonograph is the only reason I ever wanted it and that part died about a year ago. We had two VCR's collecting dust and three portable TV's that are now paperweights thanks to the digital conversion. It was actually kind of sad to discard the small Samsung that had been in the kitchen since I was a child, but it was manufactured in December 1983 and there isn't even a jack for a DTV converter to plug into it. The nice thing is that I know there are many people who scavenge the center, so there's a chance someone with some know-how might make use of these things before they even get recycled. I hope so.

At the risk of exaggerating, I will say that this is easily among the most physically demanding activities I've done in months. Partly, this is because of all the lifting and carrying from the house, to the van, to the recycling center. Partly, though, it's because of the heat and humidity, and I know my Crohnies appreciate what the heat can do to one's guts. I once had a much higher tolerance for the warmer months, but the last few years I have longed for Autumn a bit more each August.

Still, it has been rather rewarding to exert such levels of energy. It's actually made me feel something that has been absent for quite a while, and that's a sense of being useful. It may not be much in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps. Whether discussing the green effort or one's self-image, I think that's true and I am here to testify that it has been healthy for me.

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