Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

December 21, 2012

GIVING BACK: Recycling equals happiness

By Louise Gorenflo
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — After perusing many opinions about what the top recycling practices are, I’ve come up with this list for especially those who have not plunged into recycling. Even if you already are committed recyclers, check this list for more ideas.

1. Learn which items are recyclable in Cumberland County. Here is a quick list:  paper, cardboard, glass, metal containers and aluminum. Only a few plastics can be recycled, but plastic soda bottles, milk jugs, detergent jugs are good ones to start with. But wait, there is even more: batteries of all kinds, electronic equipment, tires and paint cans. 

2. Make use of the Cumberland County Recycling Center. It’s located on Hwy. 70 N just pass the Kmart. It takes all of the above mentioned items plus the rest of your household waste.

3. Make a home recycling center. Everyone in the household is more likely to recycle items if it is easy. The secret to successful recycling is to set up a home recycling center in your utility room, garage or other space in your home. Put different boxes or bins for different recyclable products. Start with three containers: a box for paper, a cardboard bin and box for all your recyclable glass, plastic and metal. You can easily make the final sort of this box at the recycling center.   

3. Pass it on. We have a multitude of charity thrift stores to which you can donate items you no longer want to support a great community cause of your choice. Of course, you can also sell it at yard sales or even online! It is better for someone to be using your castoffs then for them to molder in your shed.

4. Say no to disposable plastic carrier bags from the shops. It’s easy to take your own bags with you once you get into the habit. Keep some in your car. You can get net bags that you can roll up and keep in your purse or pocket. 

5. Switch to a reusable rather than disposable options such as cloth kitchen towels and napkins instead of paper towels and paper napkins. 

6. If you have the space, start a backyard compost bin or pile for all your kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. You will reduce enormously what you put into the landfill and increase the fertility of your garden.

7. Carry your own water and/or beverage bottle. Stop wasting your money on bottled water. Stop harming yourself by drinking sugary and diet drinks. Stainless steel water bottles are readily available and easy to keep clean.  Think of all the garbage you are avoiding. Think about how much better coffee tastes when use a mug rather than styrofoam or paper.

8. Take your unwanted electronics to the recycling center. The county has a contract with a company to responsibly recycle this waste.  

9. Aim to purchase items with the least packaging and recyclable packaging. A huge box of cereal may not have any more cereal in it than a smaller box. Think before you grab.

10. Last, but the most important, don’t be wasteful! Think about what you put into your shopping cart. How long will you have it before you throw it away? Is this something you need or is it something to make yourself feel better? How much of this product can you recycle? 

This is the last "Giving Back" column, at least for awhile. I will start a new column on what researchers have found leads to greater happiness, and I guarantee you, those who recycle experience more happiness.