Saturday, May 20, 2006

My Earliest Recyling Memories

By the end of World War II, iron and steel were pretty hard to come by for domestic use, so there was a strong emphasis on recyling even the most mundane sources of metals. That's why one of my earliest grade school memories was of the competition between the classes to see who could collect the most coat hangers!

There was also a big todo made over paper drives, too. They would mark off sections of the sidewalk by the school for each grade. Parents would collect bundled and tied newspapers from neighbors and family and deposit the stacks in the appropriate grade's area. This drive became quite an important social event for us, earning the winners all the bragging rights we would later learn to ascribe to such hallowed competitions as the Alabama-Auburn football game.

Our neighboring little town here in rural Alabama has been having good success for several months now with a recycling drop off facility at their Town Hall / Police Station parking lot, so we've been saving cardboard, glass, plastic, and aluminum cans, as well as newspapers for them. They're using the profits to fund their new Public Library. We're hoping they'll be successful, and we're doing our part.

The last time our little town tried something similar, it worked for awhile, and then some of the rednecks around here started putting their trash in the bins, and even stealing the aluminum cans! The town finally gave up, and did away with the whole project.

Does your town recycle? Do YOU recycle? Does your child's school still have paper drives or aluminum can drives?

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Ol' Lady said...

Nice blog. We recycle everything that we can in our house, from 'garbage' to clothes and anything else we can find. We are 2 adults and 1 teen (+ many vistis from other family. We put on an average less than 4 bags a month in the land fill. Also if we need something (clothes or household item) we start at second hand shops and garage sales then proceed to store I would rather reuse, to help the environment and my pocket book.

Dirty Butter said...

Glad to have you stop by, "ol' lady"! We very rarely have more than one white kitchen garbage bag a week, either, but there are just the two of us.

We recycle boxes and styrofoam for packing our Internet sales items, and use cereal boxes for extra protection inside bubble envelopes for stuffed animals.

Mama Mouse said...

I remember paper drives with little fondness. I always had the job of packing the paper bundles into the trucks! ICK! LOL

Dirty Butter said...

LOL, Mama Mouse! Not exactly the way to instill the love of recycling into the heart of a young child, eh?

jan said...

We have a blue can for recyclables and a brown can for garbage in our city so it makes it easy for us to recycle.

I remember my grandmother used to wash aluminum foil and reuse it until it just fell apart. She also took old tires, filled them with dirt and planted flowers in the yard.

I enjoy your blog.

Dirty Butter said...

I had forgotten about my grandmother doing that! I'm not sure if my mother saved it, too, or not, but Grandma did, for sure!! I remember how dark and all wrinkledy it was and how she had a whole drawer full of flattened out pieces.

Thanks, Jan, for pulling that memory back from the mist of the past.

ashleymclure said...

Stopped through via blogazoo. I remember those recycling drives. Big piles of newspaper set up by classroom in taped/chalked off areas of a parking lot. I haven't thought about that in ages.

Anyway, I recycle aluminum, paper, magazines, plastic, etc.

Dirty Butter said...

Glad you stopped by, Ashley! We pass magazines around among older women in our church who can't afford to subscribe to them. That's the best kind of recycling, seems to me. They get a visit out of it, too.

CyberCelt said...


Our town has a recycling center due to the efforts of one man, Kyle Hahn. It is the Green Guy Recycling center.

The university here used to have a recycling center, but they closed it. That is when Mr. Hahn went to the city council to get help opening Green Guy. We all went in support of Kyle and it worked out okay.

Wal-Mart donated land, the city council made the garbage collector (who did not have recycling program) support Kyle with a percentage of profits.

That was many years ago and Green Guy is still there. Thank God.

I remember paper drives. I also remember when soda bottle were turned in for refund. A kid could make a nice bit of change picking up the discarded bottles for the refund.

Dirty Butter said...

I'm glad your town was able to get behind Kyle and make the recycling center a success.

Oh, how could I have forgotten about turning in coke bottles for spending money!! Thanks for reminding me, cybercelt!

Candace said...

Yes! I remember returning the Coke bottles, too!
This is a GREAT blog, and I'm coming back when I have more time. I'm doing gardening stuff today at the house we're going to move into in a few weeks. It's a hundred-year-old prairie style. Talk about recycling!

Dirty Butter said...

Glad you stopped by, Candace, and thanks for the compliment! Sounds like you have your hands full, and yes, I think you win the recycling honors with a 100 year old house.

Are you planning to do more of a restore or a remodel? Will you be showing us pictures on your blog?

txsoapmom43 said...

I wish that our town would recycle but they don't. I guess the city doesn't want to have to spend the money for recyling centers or something. I reuse old Walmart bags and when get a lot of them we take them back to Walmart.

Dirty Butter said...

We've never lived in a town that could keep a recycling center going, either, soap lady. And it's amazing how many uses I find for all those small plastic store bags. We never have any to take back to the store!!

Chana said...

what a lovely memory again...good to make the best of any situation even in such sad times...
my city is not sooo big in recycling..twice our city has tried to get things going full swing here and not to many people have taken the bite...Edmonton in the other hand is a city which does a wonderful job of recycling everything...we must learn from them i think.

My children are into 'Save the earth' type of movement..the schools try to keep this as an important issue and so ofcourse they are very good to do this at home..

Hope you have been well...

Dirty Butter said...

The schools do a good job of teaching environmental responsibility to children. It's a shame the grownups don't have the infrastructure in place for following through with that enthusiasm.

Candace said...

I shouldn't be given the reclycing honors! I don't actually, um, recycle, exactly.

As to the 100-yr-old house, it's a long, boring story (as my regular blog readers would attest.) I inherited it, tried for a year to sell it so we could go to North Carolina and live close to my husband's folks (our only family now); after five deals fell thru, we decided to move in ourselves, fix it up some and try again in a couple of years.

Here's the fun(ny) part: It's been chopped up into five apartments. We've asked the tenants to be out by June 1st so we can move in (we won't know how to act with so much room.) Until we can get some interior doors made, we'll have to go outside one door and come in another to go from, say, the living room to the bedroom.

The house is in an historical district as of this month, so we've very glad of that.

Here's a link to a pic from last year, and yes, there will be others.

Dirty Butter said...

Bless your heart, Candace! You DO have your work cut out for you, don't you.

This link will work, by the way.

Maxwell House

Norma said...

I remember paper drives--can't remember when they stopped, but it was well after WWII. The Boy Scouts used this as a fund raiser, as I recall. Perhaps community recycling put an end to that.

Our town sends trucks for pick ups for recycling, but many of us wonder if it all goes to the same place despite the special bins they give us.

My first stop here. I regularly do Monday Memories and Thursday Thirteen which often include memories--goes with my age.

Retrofood said...

No paper or can drives here. We have curbside recycling, one bin for cans/bottles, one for newspapers. I think acceptance of the practice is pretty much universal in town if looking at the cans/bins by the road on trash day.

However, nothing like when I lived in Oregon. They had deposits on soda and beer bottles + laws against mixing recyclables with garbage. Believe me, I made sure (and so did everyone else) that no spaghetti sauce jar or soda can made its way to the garbage bin.

Dirty Butter said...

Glad to have you stop by, Norma, and I sure hope you come again. I had never seen a Monday Memories meme until I took a look at one of your blogs. I guess our whole blog is a Monday Memories meme!!

We're doing good in our town to get garbage pickup! We don't get trash pickup, which means we either disguise the broken stuff as household garbage, or haul it to the dump on the other side of the county ourselves.

Dirty Butter said...

Oh my, retrofood! I can't even imagine how the rednecks around here would react to someone trying to enforce a law such as Oregon has.

Don't get me wrong, now. Not everyone around here are rednecks, but it doesn't take many to ruin any attempt at a recycling program. It only takes a few bags of rotten garbage in with the recycling materials to ruin the whole process.

I do envy you being able to recycle at the curb. Our daughters live where they can do that.

Glad you stopped by, and I hope you come again, soon!