When I moved to Santa Fe, a city renowned in some circles for its environmentally friendly mindset, imagine my surprise when I saw restaurants throwing out giant bags full of soda bottles, everyone I knew chucked their cans into the trash can and paper got dumped in with the coffee grinds. The horror! My freshman year I even arranged recycling bins in the dorm lounge for my hall, crushing and dragging the bottles to the bins downstairs myself. Eventually, however, I really felt like I was fighting a losing battle. Digging liquor bottles out of garbage cans after particularly rowdy parties is never a pleasant experience.
When I moved off campus to the barrio, recycling was all well and good. We put our little green bins out on the sidewalk and filled them with dog food cans and cranberry juice bottles and life was good. But then - cue scary music - we moved to the county. THE COUNTY.
We gave up our curbside recycling pickup in favor of a few acres of pinon trees and a slightly quieter back yard, but I wasn't willing to stop my heroic little upstream swim just yet. As a result, every three months or so, I take the massive Rubbermaid bins we keep in the yard, which we slowly fill with cans, plastic and glass, and drive them 10 miles to the Buckman Road Recycling and Transfer Station.
For anyone who thinks this is too much work for their precious Sunday afternoon, I have put together this little photo essay for you to show you just how easy it is to NOT be lazy and just throw out all your kombucha bottles.
11:25 am: We're having a party in a few weeks and I figure that all those cardboard boxes scattered around the backyard, waiting for their turn to be mashed into pulp, are not the best scenery for a garden soiree. It's time to take them to Buckman. I load the boxes and my dog into the car (I need company on trips like this) and get moving.
11:27 am: While driving down the road, in my rearview mirror I see a white bag fall off the roof of my car and into the middle of my street - I forgot that I put our garbage bags up there to bring them over to the other half of our duplex to throw in the trash bin. Oops.
11:28: Turn around and bring the bag to the trash bin. Throw it in, on top of my neighbor's plastic milk carton and a big corrugated box. Shed a wee tear that not everyone is willing to drive their recycling like I do.
11:29-11:41 am: Drive down Old Las Vegas Highway, then Old Pecos, then St. Mike's, and eventually make that right onto St. Francis Drive, all the while listening to Jason Mraz and admiring just how cute my little dog is.
11:42 am: Turn left onto Camino de las Crucitas. Follow it up, up, up! Until it turns into Paseo de Vista. (And yes, that is a CSF parking decal in my windshield - I bet it'll be worth money one day. It's a discontinued antique.)
11:45 am: Reach the transfer station!
11:46 am: Wait in the line. On a slightly dreary, yet totally lovely Sunday like this one, a lot of people have the same idea about recycling as I do. It's not that hard to wait, though, with a view like this.
11:50 am: Greet the pretty booth attendant. Our conversation goes like this:
HER: Good morning!
ME: Hi! I'm from the County, I have recycling.
HER: Have a nice day!
(yes, county recycling is FREE! But not everything is; check out the website, which I linked to above, for other fees.)
11:52 am: Reach the big bins labeled plastics, glass, mixed paper and corrugated cardboard. I chuck my boxes into the cardboard bin. Wheeeeeee!
11:53 am: I wish I had glass to throw in, because glass is totally the most fun.
11:54 am: I'm done! I turn around and head downtown to walk my dogger.
11:56 am: Admire the view as I head home via Paseo de Vista.
Whew! All this environmental stewardship is tiring on a little pit bull.