Sure, Inauguration Day is historic and not only because this year, it falls on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Not to take anything away from the president’s day, or MLK, but I recently did something history making, something that you, too, can do.
The accomplishment took months to achieve, but it was years in the making.
I’ve been saving and saving, and on the second Saturday in the month, I did it.
I recycled Styrofoam.
OK, Styrofoam is a trademark name, but you know the stuff I’m talking about.
The stuff we’ve been told for generations is not Earth-friendly because decomposition takes thousands of years (if it ever decomposes) and because it’s not been recyclable and just ends up in landfills.
That stuff, technically called expanded polystyrene, polystyrene foam, polystyrene plastic or expanded plastic. It comes in many forms: peanuts, cups, to-go containers. It keeps cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot – without freezing or burning our hands.
And we usually just put it in the trash when we’re finished with it. I’ve tossed the stuff in the trash for decades.
Last year, after I simply couldn’t bear the thought of contributing further to the mounds of trash already around Atlanta, I looked up “recycling” and “Styrofoam,” and found that the a group called Keep Atlanta Beautiful offers recycling of all sorts of things the first and second Saturday of each month.
Electronics. Paper. Plastic. Aluminum.
Not only does recycling the plastic reduce the size of landfills, but since it’s made from petroleum and has other chemicals, recycling reduces chemical leaching. (I wonder if recycling could also affect gas prices since gasoline comes from petroleum, too.)
The problem for me, though, is that I could not justify driving six miles just to recycle a to-go container and cup.
So, I stockpiled the stuff. In trash bags. For months and months until I thought I had enough to recycle. Four in all.
And, I had to rinse each container, not only to reduce the likelihood of unwanted visitors, but because Keep Atlanta Beautiful required that each container be rinsed.
Oh, the recyclable expanded plastic must have the number 6 inside the recycle triangle (usually on the bottom of the container).
On the first Saturday of the month, I drove about 15 miles in my big honkin’ truck with my four bags, relying on the GPS of my “smart” phone, only to end up at what the phone said was the correct address but ended up being a field.
Even after I decided to pay attention to building numbers rather than listen to the GPS, I still didn’t find the location.
Undeterred, I went home and left the bags in the truck.
A week later, success – about 42 seconds after I arrived at the second venue.
Of those who ventured to the site, I was the only one at the Styrofoam recycling truck.
Hmm. I don’t think word has gotten out.
Styrofoam is, indeed, recyclable – at least in many cities.