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.