Monday, January 14, 2008

Recycle Thy Neighbor

My family of four has worked hard to get down to one trash barrel each week. We were just over the one barrel until our town started recycling cereal and granola bar boxes. Trying to make more homemade whole foods instead of buying prepackaged foods is a goal for...ummm...later in the year.

So I have a neighbor family on my street who creates five barrels of trash each week. Two adults and two little ones live there. Not a football team like a passerby might guess.

Not surprisingly, this family does not recycle. Ever.

Each Sunday night as I take my trash and recyclables to the curb I take a minute to gaze upon the neighbor's pile of trash and think about how to approach the situation.

Last week I made my move. Together we were walking around the block with the kids and I mentioned that I noticed that she hasn't recycled and I was wondering if I could pick-up a recycling bin for her if she was interested.

Knock me over with a feather. This friendly neighbor was so responsive. She said that she was just too busy to find out how to obtain a bin (I believe it!) and didn't know what could be recycled. This neighbor even confessed that my 4 year old Little Guy once pulled some trash out of her barrel and told her that it was recyclable.

A few days later I grabbed a brown paper bag and wrote a list of what paper products can be recycled right on it. Tomorrow I am going to head over to the town garage and pick-up a recycling bin. I'm trying not to move to fast so as not to out too much pressure on her.

Now I'm not advocating guerrilla tactics on unsuspecting neighbors who need a recycling lesson. But in my case a non-judgemental conversation worked wonders.

5 comments:

Ruth Dynamite said...

Awesome! Spread the word, sister!

kelly said...

nice! i was so tempted last trash day to go grab all the random cardboard neighbors weren't recycling...but i chickened out!

Late Bloomer said...

Way to go! Now I'll have to do the same with my neighbours.

dolphyngyrl said...

Good for you!

Erikka said...

This was a natural teaching moment...one you took full advantage of in the best way possible. What a great approach, no judgment, no grillin' with questions...just an offer to help.

You go girl!