Ford column: Honor thy mother

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2008

By Emily Ford
Salisbury Post
During a recent walk I had to stop myself from digging in someone’s trash.
I could see a clear trash bag filled with beer bottles in the rollout garbage can. Recyclable glass bottles headed for the landfill.
I still regret not digging those Budweisers out of the garbage.
Today, while we honor our mothers for all that they do, let’s also honor mother Earth. She needs some tender loving care, and one of the simplest ways to help save her is to recycle.
It’s super easy to recycle in Salisbury. Just put all your recyclables in the blue bin and place it on the curb on garbage day. No sorting necessary.
Don’t have a blue bin? No excuse. Get one free at City Hall (south Main Street), the city offices (north Main Street) or the Public Services Department (north Fulton Street).
You can have two bins, or three. You can even pick up a bin for a neighbor. The one who likes Budweiser.
We keep two bins outside for glass, plastic and cans and one inside for mixed paper like junk mail and cereal boxes. The recycling truck will take wet paper, it’s just more convenient for us to have this bin indoors.
Put this in your bin:
n Mixed paper, including glossy magazines and phone books. Break down cereal boxes to make them flat. You will not believe how much room mixed paper has been taking up in your garbage.
n Newspapers
n Brown and clear glass (no blue or green)
n Plastic containers with a 1 or 2 on the bottom, inside the “chasing arrows” recycling triangle (no higher numbers)
n Aluminum and steel cans
n New! Corrugated cardboard. Break down boxes and make sure they are no larger than 2 feet by 2 feet. Place on top of your blue bin. This means Capri Sun boxes.
To make sure your recyclables actually get recycled, do two things: 1. Remove lids 2. Rinse.
While you never have to peel off labels, you should discard lids. You can stomp on cans and bottles if you’d like to save space, a fun job for kids.
Try to make your recyclables as clean as possible. They should be free from food contaminants.
This means no pizza boxes.
While the recycling truck might pick up your peanut butter jar that’s still coated with peanut butter, it’s not getting recycled. It’s getting pulled off the conveyor belt in Charlotte and trashed.
Take a minute to rinse jars, bottles and cans so they don’t end up in the landfill.
Do you remember the bitter 1989 war over where to build the new landfill? Me neither, but people were still talking about it when I arrived in 1992. We want our landfill to last a long, long time.
Recycling reduces the need for raw materials. This means less habitat destruction, less global warming, less energy used in manufacturing and less pollution caused by waste.
About a third of our citizens use curbside recycling, which is the state average. But I think Salisbury is above average, don’t you?
My mother knows the importance of recycling. She runs the landfill in my hometown. Today I will recycle in honor of both my mothers.
Emily Ford covers the N.C. Research Campus.