Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gradually Going Green

Sometimes when I throw away what appears to be good food, in the garbage, I wish I could add a post-it to it, for the desparate soul that comes along and thinks they have a find, and let them know WHY I threw it in there....usually because it fell in a really nasty place around the subway.

Sometimes, when I throw something recyclable in the trash can, I feel okay about it, because I know that there are people on the streets of New York who make a living by rifling through the garbage and collecting my recyclable waste. This is another reason why I like living here, because there are people actively looking for recyclable trash.

In my building, on each floor there is a refuse closet to place recyclables on shelves and in bins, and a shoot to throw the trash down. I visit this closet at least once a day. Every once in a while a neighbor has cleaned out their magazine stack, and I silently say: "SCORE!" I pick up a stack and page through them for a few days, and then return them to the refuse closet. I feel good about this little green effort that I make occasionally, to give those recyclable magazines ONE more life. I don't think I could be like the freegans, finding food in the garbage, but a magazine, on a shelf full of recyclable paper, I am totally ok with.

Today, I popped out of the door for my second visit to the refuse closet, and my downstairs neighbor was standing, waiting for the elevator (not green...ok, I use it 9 out of 10 times too), holding one of the recyclables that I had put in the closet earlier, in her hand. She had a little guilty look on her face when she saw me, but hey, she's reusing...I'm ok with it. Take that 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon and go USE that coupon lady!....just please ask them to recycle it afterwards.

Then after a few seconds past, I wondered if it was creepy that she was going through our recylcables. Then I asked myself if it's creepy that I had borrowed magazines from our community recyclables? I concluded that same-floor reusing is okay, but going UP the elevator to snoop through the other floors' recyclables is not okay...even if it's in the name of reusing.

5 comments:

y said...

Now when I throw even a little bit of food away I feel like the freegans are gonna come get me. Like the monster under your bed ... they're suddenly gonna pop out "wasteful consumer! just eat through the mold! I would!!" Liberal guilt. :)

Cardon & Kelly Webb said...

My little brother is a freegan. He usually just dumpster dives outside of places like Good Earth. He finds some pretty good stuff sometimes.

Kage said...

It seems that the Freegans are very strategic about where they dive...I want to know more about your brother!

y, in that vain, I WISH I had a compost pile...I would be really into that if I had LAND.....and there are even these worms you can buy that eat the compost....so you can use it for your garden fertilizer or to feed worms....who then fertilize your garden with their poo I guess!

y said...

Compost pile is very cool (and very martha stewart). I have to say I've really been romanticizing the freegan thing lately (and since we have donated like 1/2 of our house. Trying to live the 80/20 rule). I think doing one of the freegan walking tours in the city would be VERY interesting.

Kage said...

y, what's 80/20 please? And let me know when you go on the freegan tour, I'm there.