One Green Thing: What do you mean, there is no recycling bin?

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

As you travel, some people break their habits. You recycle at home, so why not when you travel? I just have to mention, it is not easy to do this. If you stop at the rest stops, the cans are often there and easy to use. In some states, it is even “sorted” with the use of various cans for aluminum, glass, plastic, etc.

Gasoline stations are a completely different story. I have never seen a recycling container in one. They simply are not there, never outside, rarely inside. Is this a last place to concentrate on for recycling efforts? Nope…there are also hotels and motels, condominiums, resorts, and other places of fun and relaxation. There are obvious reasons why they do not recycle. Those businesses would have to purchase the containers, train staff how to use them, and spend extra money (perhaps) to send the recyclable products to the proper place.

The alternative is we could do it ourselves. Now, wait just a darn minute here…I am going to haul recyclable items back home? Well, I have done it on a trip of just a couple of days. This is going to be very difficult on a week or more trip, however.

There is no magic answer. We are not going to stop consuming beverages and foods that require packaging. We just have to do the best we can. OK, so here’s my plan. I will sneak a small stack of smashed plastic under the seat, and use the newspapers to pack some precious gifts for the trip home, where I will again find my recycling bins.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at

From the March 2-8, 2011, issue

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