A recent article in my local newspaper was titled:  RECYCLE CORRECTLY. The colorful piece caught my eye because it highlighted a list of “Good” and Bad” things to recycle. Ha ha!, I thought, settling into my blue leather recliner. Let’s see how “Good” I am.

Me bad. 

Before I finished the first paragraph, I realized I didn’t have a clue how to recycle. I probably speak better Arabic than I recycle. I’ve been blithely tossing plastic newspaper bags, frozen vegetable bags, almost anything that could fit into the red plastic recycling bin that sits in my laundry room. I thought I was doing the right thing, such as: anything that doesn’t look like ordinary garbage must be recyclable.


                       In 500 B.C., Athens organized the first municipal dump program in the

                      western world. Local laws dictated that waste had to be disposed of

                      at least one mile from city walls.”


My milk jugs and detergent bottles get recycled, but so do, omigod, old sneakers, bubble wrap, kitty litter and light bulbs. Please don’t think I’m not, like, a stable genius, but WHO KNEW? I didn’t.

For years I’ve been feeling quite virtuous when, every Sunday, Mr. Wonderful hauls out several containers filled with my “recyclables” to the specially-marked jumbo-size recycling trash can. (I should have figured something was amiss by the groans and moans as he dragged the stuffed-to-the-brim barrel down to our pickup site, but …..)



                Fact: Americans use over 2 1/2 million plastic bottles every 30 minutes

                and most them are simply thrown away, rather than recycled.


                 Fact:  Recycling a single day’s worth of the NEW YORK TIMES

                 could save 75,000 trees or more.


                  Fact: Recycling an aluminum can can help save a great deal of

                  energy, in fact, enough to run your home TV for three hours.


Since this is confession time, I’ll step deeper into the confessional. My grandson Max is a dedicated Boy Scout, working towards his Eagle. His string of merit badges is impressive. When looking at them the other day, I was able to identify almost all — canoeing, hiking, climbing, pioneering — but one eluded me.

“What’s that cute one?” I asked, pointing to a badge with three white circling arrows on a blue field. “Grandma! That’s my environmental science badge,” Max said. The Mobius Loop was introduced in the late 1960’s as the symbol for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.  Really? The late 1960s?  Why of course!

I’m consoling myself with the knowledge that it’s better late than never to learn how to recycle. I’m doing my homework. I’ve also gone to the Environmental Protection Agency website ( for extra tutelage. If you’re anything like me, maybe it’s worth a trip there too.

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As has been said:  Save the earth — it’s the only planet with chocolate!  And therefore well worth saving ... and recycling.