For a while now, I have split my time between Middle Tennessee and the Texas Hill Country. Since returning to Texas a week ago, it has crossed my mind how different my environmental efforts are in Texas from what they are like in Tennessee.
In Tennessee, frankly, it is far easier to recycle than here on the outskirts of Austin. My subdivision here offers curbside recycling, but there are only 3 types of items accepted and the guidelines are strict. Plastic is accepted, but only transparent or translucent drinking bottles; must be rinsed and crushed. Glass is permissible, but only clear or brown, no green or opaque; must be thoroughly cleaned. Newspapers and inserts are allowed, but no magazines or any other type of paper; must be placed at the top of the bin. There is only a small bin for the collection, too, so recycling hardly seems worth it when I’m here. I’ve been unable to locate a drop-off nearby.
By contrast, in Columbia, there is a nearby drop-off with bins for cardboard, paper, all colors of glass, both transparent and opaque plastic, aluminum (cans and foil), and if I am not mistaken, even magazines. In Tennessee, then, we recycle everything we possibly can (and then some!), and compost a lot of what we can’t, so I feel like maybe the fact that I can’t here isn’t such a bad thing.
There are also conservation measures I take here that I don’t generally take in Tennessee. For instance, I add weights to my toilet tanks in order to use less water and we only water the lawn when absolutely necessary. We also don’t use as much here that could be recycled and I tend to keep and reuse a lot of things that in Tennessee would get taken to the bin. I tend to drive less here and I have use of a dishwasher which means we probably use less water cleaning our plates.
In both places, we allow the backyard to flourish in its natural state, rather than kill off everything that isn’t grass. We keep the lights off except in the rooms we are in, in most cases, and try to keep heating and cooling to a minimum. In both houses, there are multiple “twisty” bulbs. At both houses, I plant green things all the time - and that can’t be a bad thing, right?