Sunday, July 6, 2008


There is a new billboard on the edge of town that greets the motorists. Welcome to Smallville: A Smoke-Free Community. I know you are probably scratching your head and wondering, What's so newsworthy about that? Our public spaces have been smoke free for a decade!

Smallville is last in everything. Health, wealth, education, you name it. We're last on the list. So it stands to reason that we would be the last to reduce, reuse and recycle as well. It's green in my neck of the woods, but, only because of the woods. Some citizens in my fair county do embrace the concept though. In their own way. Done with that fridge? Move it out to the porch. Car won't run? Push it on out to the back lot to rust alongside the Dodge Dart and the Ford Pinto.

There are NO options for recycling here in my little community. Every disposable item that comes into the house goes out to the curb in this:


Techically, I guess this container is green. The picture doesn't do this thing justice. Our trash can is taller than Charlie and can hold 224 lbs. of refuse. We fill it to overflowing in just three days with milk cartons and cardboard and plastic yogurt containers. The garbage men come on Tuesdays and Fridays to haul it off to the landfill.


We aren't a frivolous family. We are militant about turning off lights. We keep warm in the summer and cool in the winter all in an effort to be less wasteful. I hang laundry out to dry. We use wash cloths and cloth napkins instead of paper towels and paper napkins. I keep real cups and real silverware in the car for snacks. The kids carry reusable water bottles with them. Still, I am always looking for more ways to lessen our trash load. So last week I made these:


We had been filling a garbage bag each week with grocery bags! Of course, our local Wal-Mart doesn't recycle them so I had no choice but to put them in the trash, until now. I feel a little more green with my bags. That is, until, I load the groceries up in this:
Meet Thirsty, our 1998 Suburban. She gets twelve miles to the gallon. A fill up is currently around two hundred dollars. We only drive her packed to the gills with children and groceries. She is as green as she can be because she spends most of her time here in the driveway.

The new billboard gives me hope. Today, smoke-free. Ten years from now, at the current rate of change, I'll be the proud owner of a recycling bin..and maybe a Prius.


40winkzzz said...

It would drive me nuts to not be able to recycle! I am sort of compulsive about it. I hang laundry, too, and I combine (or forego) trips to save gas. But I'm not as green as I could be. I still like paper plates every so often, and definitely plastic silverware for the road!

Great bags! I hate plastic grocery bags and when I have them, I tend to stash them for reuse or to take to WalMart, until we finally get such a big unwieldy stash that my hubby just... um, throws them away. I like paper bags b/c we can at least burn or recycle them. (I really should switch to cloth bags, but I think I would forget to put them back in my van after use and thus constantly find myself w/o them anyway.)

See, it's my brain that needs to be recycled. But you already read that post. And speaking of which, thanks for stopping by to comment! I know you read b/c I saw that you linked to my blog on yours here (which I gretaly appreciate even tho the link doesn't work!). So I'm glad you finally de-lurked. It took me a few minutes to figure out who you were though, since (a) I have another bloggy friend named Kate, and (b) I think of you not as Kate, but as the "Small Scribbler"!

Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Girl that is so funny! I love your efforts though. That is wonderful. Interesting place that Smallville of yours is! :)
Love ya!

Alyson said...

I find it hard to believe that a part of such an industrialized society can be so...sooo behind the times!!!
makes me sad

I could not imagine throwing everything out around here.
I can wait until they outlaw plastic bags and go back to glass milk bottles!!!

My husband and I always laugh at how we are 'converting' back to the old days...before the petroleum revolution.

great job on the bags!!!

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

Nice that you're doing your part to stay green. I love the bags. I've been using the ones our grocery store sells. You get 5 cents off your bill each time you use they pay for themselves pretty quickly. Much easier to load, too!

ocean mommy said...

I LOVE THE GROCERY BAGS!!! Those are great!

Since we have put up the fence, we've decided to hang a clothes line. My neighbors think I'm crazy, but that's okay. There is just something about sheets that have been through the "air" and "sun" cycle! That plus NOT running that dryer is all the reason I need.

ValleyGirl said...

I feel your pain!! Our sleepy little town FINALLY has a rural recycling program. And we don't even have to seperate our recyclables ~ just throw them all in one bag/bin, leave them at the dump, and they get sorted there.

Well, I assume anyway. Of course, once we leave the dump, our recycling might just get thrown into the pit with everything else!! (Which wouldn't actually surprise me.)

Jennifer@DoingTheNextThing said...

LOL - you crack me up! I applaud you for your "progressive" (by smallville standards) efforts. We live in a suburb of Atlanta, but our curbside recycling still only accepts plastic and aluminum. It's up to us to do the right thing and deal with glass, cardboard, newspapers, magazines, and plastic bags. Thankfully, there are spots around town to drop these things off! My "pantry" is overrun with recycling - I think the future selling-point of new houses may be a recycling room! ;-)
(Oh, and I know what ya mean about the 'Burb -we've got an '03 that doesn't get much better mileage. We stay very close to home...)