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Greg Michaels: Earth Day! I Know I Should Do More, But How?

Recycle Bin

Today is Earth Day. How are you celebrating? When I think of the environment, I think of industrial pollution, consumption and disposal. Without a lot of help and work, I really can’t do anything about industrial pollution. Quite frankly, I leave that fight up to those far more intelligent than me. As for consumption, we can probably all do a little better at using less, especially when it comes to energy.  We use oil and would love to switch to natural gas, but that would be $7,000 plus the cost of unexpected “issues.”

For the moment, I think keeping the heat at 65 degrees is a happy medium between conservation and warmth, besides, with oil at $3.69 a gallon during the winter, it’s costly too and 65 saves a little bit of money as well. I could do a lot better with electricity use, that I know. I accidentally leave the basement light on a lot after walking upstairs after getting something, laundry, etc. That is certainly something I can work on.

In Auburn, we have trash pickup once a week, but recycling only bi-monthly. Why? It would seem to me that there is a profit in recycling. Recycling pickup once a week would entice many to recycle more, I believe anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I like having trash picked up every week, but I think we could do the same with recycling. This brings me to my next wonder, what is recyclable? I know soda cans and bottles are recyclable for their deposit refund. I know you can put glass jars and cans in the green bin, newspapers, cardboard, milk jugs and some plastics do as well.

What kinds of plastics? What about magazines, batteries and margarine containers for example? I know I throw away a lot that could be recycled because of just not knowing. I wish the city of Auburn would communicate better on what goes in the bins.

As an Auburn homeowner, I pay about $3,000 a year in property tax which I’m okay with doing because I have three kids,with two in school now, but I still think we should have recycling every week just like trash pickup. I’d even go as so far to say; to offset the cost I would swallow the idea of the blue bag system like they have in Portland where you pay a dollar for a bag, so the more trash you put out the more it costs. Recycling use goes up, city gets money and city taxes stay flat (presumably).

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