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He Recycles!

September 20, 2009

After weeks of collecting, Austin and I (with three large bags of bottles, cans, and plastic in tow) have finally made the pilgrimage to our local recycling Mecca…which ironically is corporate giant Walmart’s Recycling Center.

I proudly announce that Austin, consumer of plastic HDPE #2 milk jugs and chipboard cereal boxes, now recycles.  What started off as an effort to woo this green girl (hey, in the name of young love, anything is possible) has now evolved into an everyday habit.  And influenced by his daily actions, even his roommates (also staunch All-American boys) have begun to recycle.

The great thing about boyfriends who recycle: someone to carry the heavy bags

The great thing about boyfriends who recycle: someone to carry the heavy bags

Which got me thinking: what influences us to recycle or not recycle?

I sat down with Austin and his roommate Blake today to pick their brains a bit about how they feel about recycling and what would get them to start doing other eco-friendly things.

My first question: What would encourage you to recycle?

Blake: If they came and picked up the recycling for us.  And had girls in bikinis.

*Insert them laughing and me rolling my eyes.

Blake: Ok, but seriously.  I started recycling mostly because you and Austin recycled.  I mean, I don’t know if I’d go out and recycle on my own unless someone came and picked up my recycling for me.

Me: Would you do it just for the environment?

Blake: Um…well, I’m a big wildlife guy.  So once it starts affecting that, then that would be it for me.  I would probably start recycling for that.

Look how easy it is to recycle!

Look how easy it is to recycle!

Janie: Yeah, because everything is interconnected.

Blake: Yeah Janie, Circle of Life, Lion King stuff.

Austin: I just don’t like thinking about this stuff sitting out in the ocean or adding to some landfill.  You don’t really comprehend what you’re throwing away until it accumulates and you realize just how much stuff that is.

Blake: Yeah, like you throw away a coke here and there and it doesn’t really affect you.  But when you add it all up, its really overwhelming.

While talking to the guys I realized that I could sit on my high horse all day and spew environmental data, rhetoric, and shock value…and it wouldn’t change their minds.  In order to connect to them, to get them to start recycling or living eco-friendly, first I had to connect with what was important to them.  For Blake, that was the diversity of wildlife that was in danger.  For Austin, that was the conservation of natural habitats.

Why do you recycle?  And if you don’t, what would get you to start?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenessa permalink
    September 21, 2009 11:49 am

    The reason I started recycling is because I grew up doing it. My mom has always recycled so it was just natural to me. The strange thing is, Austin is my brother so we have the same mom…

  2. janiec52 permalink
    September 21, 2009 4:56 pm

    Yeah it’s strange how that turns out…my sister and I are a lot alike because we grew up in the same family. But at the same time, our personalities are polar opposites. Do you think that maybe it has to do with our birth order (oldest, middle, youngest)?

    I think that Austin’s willingness to start recycling isn’t just because of me, but because of your mom as well. A lot of people say that for people to care about the environment, it has to start at an early age. That we have to teach our children to be environmentally friendly so that when they grow up they’ll have those ideas instilled within them.

    My question is, if we don’t focus on changing ourselves now, who’s going to be the role models and pass down these ideas in the first place?

  3. September 21, 2009 8:45 pm

    I feel very lucky to live in Hays, a city that has been really pushing us citizens hard to recycle for quite a few years now. The person who organized the recycling program went to the schools back then and sent materials home with the kids (my kids at that time), and I read the materials. There were also many, many ads on the radio at the same time. I believe these things got me started recycling. For the people out there who have been considering recycling, but haven’t started—-the time is NOW. It’s not really that hard.

    • janiec52 permalink
      September 22, 2009 9:52 am

      I think that its amazing that this one individual organized the recycling program and taught the kids in school about recycling and now, who knows how many people recycle because of him. My parents started recycling, and got me to recycle, and I got Austin to recycle, and now his roommates recycle too. One person’s actions can have great influence on others and I think that’s something we shouldn’t forget.

  4. Rae permalink
    September 22, 2009 12:23 am

    It’s so silly that Lawrence doesn’t have a curbside recycling pick-up – even Johnson County does it, and half of them don’t even believe in global warming!
    Also, there’s some sweet recycling action going on behind the Merc. It’s just as far of a drive, but you can park right next to the dumpsters. (Is it still a dumpster if it contains recycled goods? I’m interested in imploring the real meaning of “dumpster” now.) Just a thought for those days when beefy boyfriends aren’t there to carry your bags up 🙂

  5. Rae permalink
    September 22, 2009 12:24 am

    Hm, I think I meant “explore.” Interesting how things like that happen 🙂

    • janiec52 permalink
      September 22, 2009 10:30 am

      Rae, you made a great point. I had completely forgotten to mention the city’s cardboard, newspaper, and mixed paper recycling drop off locations. I found a great link that shows exactly where those are located. Strangely enough, the Merc wasn’t listed on there, but I called them and confirmed that they do have a paper recycling drop off there as well.

      http://www.lawrenceks.org/wrr/rescitydropoff

  6. Jenessa permalink
    September 22, 2009 12:32 pm

    My roommate of about one month had never recycled before. Now she knows what the numbers on plastic containers mean and even washed out a mayo jar! Although I did see some mail in the trash can yesterday. . . Hilary, if you’re reading this, don’t forget the paper!

    • janiec52 permalink
      September 24, 2009 3:47 pm

      I think it’s awesome that your roommate has started recycling. Hilary, keep up the good work!

  7. September 27, 2009 10:15 pm

    Worth watching…

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