Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Re-psych-le

I always like to follow up on individual resident questions by posting the answers in this blog, so here's a good one. 

Have you ever walked out of your house only to find something like this in your front yard?
That happens in part because League City is still using those old-style open-topped recycling boxes:
These things are a pain in the following ways:
  1. They allow pizza boxes to blow freely in the wind.
  2. You can't really put paper products in them on days when it rains.
  3. They can't really be stored outdoors (e.g., behind your fence) with your regular trash can, because they will get rained on.
  4. They don't hold much.
  5. They don't hold larger objects at all.
  6. They are often difficult to carry when full.
A few years ago, I lived in the Pineloch community of north Clear Lake, which was one of the City of Houston's original pilot areas for testing those wonderful rolling 96-gallon recycling bins that are similar to trash totes:
The green one pictured here.  This is an old press photo from City of Houston's launching of their recycle program (I can't find a URL for it now).  City of Houston has been proactive with residential curbside recycling. 
I guess I got spoiled by those convenient green rollies because when I moved to League City, I was not willing to revert to using those nasty little totes.  However the trouble was, I could not get the AmeriWaste collection guys to recognize recyclables placed in any other container.  Every time I'd use something other than the red bin, they'd dispose of the material as trash instead of recyclables.

So I decided to do this, to psyche them into it:
Red is the magic color for this city, so I took one of our two existing rolly carts and spray painted it red...
...then I downloaded a recycling symbol (this one from Wikipedia), sized it, printed it out, and used a razor blade to cut out the arrows.

I then taped that to the side of the red-spray-painted trash can, and used it as a stencil to spray paint the symbol in white paint.
You could buy one of these recycling things from a big box store...
Ones like this are available at Lowes.
The trouble is, those for sale commercially are not red, and red is clearly the magic color for recycling in League City.  I don't know if collection personnel would accept this model as a recycling container.

Furthermore, those for sale commercially are expensive - the one pictured above is about eighty bucks.  I had an extra small trash bin on hand, so it only cost me six bucks for spray paint.

So there's the answer to one resident's question: how come I'm the only one in the neighborhood who enjoys the convenience of an upright, wheeled recycle container?  Because I made it myself.

Incidentally, if you need info on what materials League City accepts for recycle, you can find it here.

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