Recycling; No longer bins of shame


img_8945Due to the “extreme” weather we have been having here in the southeast, meaning about 5 inches of snow, our garbage and recycling were not collected on our usual day.  I was proactive and got the garbage to the curb yesterday afternoon, but not the recycling.  I figured that I would have plenty of time this morning to carry up the recycling, because with my rocking new sober sleep schedule I have been up by 7 every day.  Of course, not today.

I awoke at 8:15, and to my amazement, the trash and recycling trucks had already been through the neighborhood.  Damn!

We live in a nosy neighborhood.  Retired people who have nothing better to do than watch your house, and look at your trash while walking their dogs.  One day while I was working in my yard a neighbor stopped by, and actually commented on the amount of wine bottles she saw in our weekly recycling.  (I know, really, she must have already watched all of her grass grow and paint dry.)

This comment, of course, irritated me.  So I began to rearrange the recycling in the bin before I took it to the curb.  Wine bottles on the bottom, paper on the top.  That was 6 years ago, when I was drinking in “moderation”.

As the years have passed, and my drinking has escalated, we added an additional bin.  I told my husband and myself, it was due to all the junk mail, and medical magazines he get, and of course my goal of reducing our carbon footprint by recycling everything possible.  We were the only people on our street who filled two bins each week.

The recycling bins became bins of shame. download (2)

Each time I finished off a bottle of wine, I would take it out to the bin, lift up all of the junk mail, and other assorted things, and plop the bottle at the bottom.  I was hiding my drinking from my husband, and the dog walking neighbors.  I was also trying to hide it from myself.  If I didn’t have to see all those empties, they didn’t really exist.  I think the only ones who were tricked were the dog walkers, they may look, and count, but they don’t dig through trash.  (At least I  hope not.)

We have always had two full recycling bins every week.  Stacked tall next to the trash can.  These bins contained my dirty little secret, all of the weeks empty wine bottles.

download (1)

After carefully covering up the evidence, I would haul the two bins to the top of the driveway for pickup.  The bins were always overflowing, and heavy.  I  knew when the    recycling truck was in front of our house, I could hear all of the glass clanking into the truck.  It sounded like we had hosted a party, every week.

This morning, when I realized I had missed the pick up, I went to the garage to see what  I was going to have to do with all of the overflowing recycling during the next week.

Only one bin was full, it was tucked neatly inside of the empty one beneath it.

I never thought quitting drinking would be the real thing that would seriously reduce my carbon footprint.

Just one more reason to remain in my sober car. (Thank you for the car ride Belle.)


5 thoughts on “Recycling; No longer bins of shame

  1. I usually live in apartment complexes so it was easy to not notice all my bottles when they go into one large, community bin. But I do know I would usually wait until nighttime to dump my collections so neighbors and the front desk wouldn’t notice. Sometimes I would have to borrow a cart from the front desk to take all my bottles to the bin.

  2. Same here. I used to wonder what the guy picking up thought of us, me. Now I barely fill one if my husbands out of town, he still drinks some so some weeks there’s two but never overflowing anymore.

  3. You mirror my thoughts exactly (again). Only yesterday I noticed that our recycling box for the first time ever contained more sparkling fruit juice bottles than beer and wine bottles. I can put my box out with pride. When I wanted to hide my empty beer bottles from my husband I would put them inside cereal or chocolate boxes before putting them in the recycling. Cringe.

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