(photo credit: Tallulah Floyd)
We started off small in my home - recycling plastic drink bottles and shampoo containers.
We put one of the green environmental tote bags the supermarkets all sell (NIS 4) near the kitchen, and any time we finished a bottle, we'd pop it in the bag. When the bag filled up, I'd sling it over a shoulder and take it to the green recycling cage about a block and a half from my house.
Then the newspaper recycling bins appeared on my block and I thought - Great, here's a way to get a good secondary use out of all of the copies of this newspaper that had been accumulating in stacks around the house.
So one Friday, every few weeks, I pile up all the old issues and make a trip to the circular bin. It is surprisingly satisfying to stuff the bin until my green tote bag is empty.
In general, I've found that there's something very satisfying about throwing out lots of stuff from the house and knowing it's going to be recycled, rather than take up more of our scarce land in a landfill.
Then word filtered through the grapevine that the newspaper recycling bins were actually suitable for all types of paper, cardboard and paper packaging.
We now recycle all of the innumerable paper products and cardboard that come into the house: from junk mail, to toilet paper rolls, to printer paper, to the packaging from my daughter's yogurts. We put another of the green tote bags next to the computer table and it fills up rather quickly each week.
Amnir Recycling general manager Uzi Carmi says he's happy to take all types of paper of off the public's hands.
Then we started going a little wild. After receiving notice of a compost being started in our community garden in Jerusalem, my wife went out to buy a little plastic garbage can from the local store for our organic waste.
Instead of throwing away the huge quantity of peels, seeds, and fruit that rotted in the fridge before we could eat it, we put it in the organic waste trash can. Then about once or twice a week, I take the smelly, dripping bags of organic waste to the compost.
Spill the bags out, add a little dry material and - presto - fertilizer for the garden for the planting season.
Aside from the smell of overripe fruits and vegetables and an occasional drip, it's easy and quick. I average about three bags into the compost in under five minutes. Plus, I no longer feel guilty if I find a piece of fruit growing mold in my fridge - I just pop it in the organic trash and know it hasn't gone to waste.
Lo and behold, after recycling bottles, paper and organic waste, I find that I have to throw out the regular garbage under my sink far less often. And when I do, it's surprisingly light.
While there is certainly room for more recycling, mostly packaging, there's a lot an ordinary citizen can do right now without investing in anything more than a couple of green tote bags and a small plastic trash can.
The writer is The Jerusalem Post's environment reporter.
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