I didn't know it at the time, but I first encountered the idea of recycling when I was much younger and learning to fly fish. That's when I read Lee Wulff's famous statement “Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once.” Catch and release fishing is one form of recycling a resource.
old barns with little or no plastic can be deconstructed and recycled
Photo by J. Harrington
Bioregional living includes the recognition that nature doesn't produce waste, resources are recycled and natural economies are circular. One way to avoid waste is not to produce it in the first place. Another is to find alternate uses for products when their primary purpose has been served. A third is to recycle products that aren't suitable for reuse. I don't know about you, but I keep forgetting that the concept to "reduce, reuse, recycle" what would otherwise become "waste" is actually a hierarchy. Sliding down that hierarchy to recycling brings us to today's bioregional question.
bookshelves made from recycled barn roofing boards
Photo by J. Harrington
What types of plastic are accepted by your regional recycling center?
Minnesota counties have long played lead roles in Minnesota's solid waste management system. Recycling legislation was enacted in 1973. [Full disclosure: I have from time to time over the years worked in and on the periphery of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area solid waste planning sector.]
Chisago County requires household waste collectors to provide recycling collection including: Chisago County Curbside Recycling "Plastics: milk jugs, water, soda, and juice bottles, condiment, dish, and detergent bottles, shampoo, soap, and lotion bottles. No plastics without a recycling number stamped on it"
Our household waste collection service accepts: "Plastic containers marked with a number 1-7 recycle logo. No plastic bags." So the answer seems to be "all plastics identified as recyclable."
[UPDATE: Meanwhile, the search for sustainable plastics continues.]
The Bear at the Dump
Amidst the too much that we buy and throwaway and the far too much we wrap it in,the bear found a few items of specialinterest—a honeydew rind, a used tampon,the bone from a leg of lamb. He’d rock backlightly onto his rear paws and slashopen a plastic bag, and then his nose—jammed almost with a surfeit of rankand likely information, for he would pause—and then his whole dowsing snout wouldinsinuate itself a little wayinside. By now he’d have hunched his weightforward slightly, and then he’d snatch it back,trailed by some tidbit in his teeth. He’d lookaround. What a good boy am he.The guardian of the dump was usedto this and not amused. “He’ll drag that shitevery which damn way,” he grumbledwho’d dozed and scraped a pit to keep that shitwhere the town paid to contain it.The others of us looked and looked. “Cityfolks like you don’t get to see this often,”one year-round resident accused me.Some winter I’ll bring him down to learnto love a rat working a length of subwaytrack. “Nope,” I replied. Just then the beardecamped for the woods with a marl of greaseand slather in his mouth and on his snout,picking up speed, not cute (nor had he beencute before, slavering with greed, his weightall sunk to his seated rump and his nose stuckup to sift the rich and fetid air, shapedlike a huge, furry pear), but richlyfed on the slow-simmering dump, and goneinto the bug-thick woods and anecdote.
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