Sunday, July 26, 2009

Recycling at the Park Slope Food Coop. Part I: Intention

How far would you go to recycle?

Until Sunday, the farthest I'd gone is the ground floor of my building or a nearby container in another place.

In principle, though, I was willing to go farther.

Two years or so ago, I learned that the Park Slope Food Coop recycles some forms of plastic that New York City does not. So I started saving all those take-out and fruit and vegetable containers I'd been tossing, thinking I'd bring them there. . . one of these days.

At first I stuck them in rear corners of kitchen cabinets. Soon the cabinets were so full that stuff started tumbling out when I opened a door. There wasn't any extra floor space in the kitchen, so I moved them to a humongous plastic bag, which I set on a chair in the kitchen.

The bag

The bag inside the bag

The bag grew and grew as if it had a life of its own. I'd taken to explaining what it was to guests, in case it looked as strange to them as it did to me.

A few months ago, I got serious and checked the coop website. I learned that they take #1 and 6 transparent plastic, but not bottles (labels are okay); and #5 containers without labels and "specifically marked" lids. All need to be clean and dry.

I went through the stuff I'd collected: lots of #1s (those fruit and vegetable baskets), a few 5s and 6s, and some the coop doesn't take (2, 4, 7, and unmarked). I discovered that those little amber prescription bottles are #5s and that their labels usually come off pretty easily. I put the 5s in a smaller bag within the bigger bag.

There are only three chances a month to recycle at the coop-- the second Saurday., 10 AM-2 PM; third Thursday, 7 PM-9 PM; and last Sunday, 10 AM-2 PM. I figured I'd aim for one of the Thursdays, and was all set to go in April, until I got invited to a friend's birthday dinner.

Finally last week, I realized that the last Sunday was approaching, and that I'd be here with no conflicting obligations. I called to make sure it would be happening.

"They do it the last Sunday, and this is the last Sunday, so yes," a woman told me.

Rain or shine? I asked. She thought so.

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