Cycle to Recycle

To celebrate America Recycles Day, last Saturday the 12th I participated in the Bicycle to Recycle bike tour of Denton’s recycling center.

The good folks at the community bike shop Qerencia gave us tune-ups before hitting the rail trail. They need a new rental space, and I apparently need a new back tire.

Coffee sacks and baby grands

Trash-turned-into-treasure was on display, like this Rwandan coffee bag repurposed into a rustic dress.

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Among other “how could they have thrown that out?!” objects, the environmental educator had seen a baby grand piano crushed into smithereens. It saddens me to see so many tossed belongings that didn’t get sufficient curb alert. I proposed having an alert sent out to thrift stores like the philanthropic Ruth’s Room before it goes into the trash compactor.

Another idea is a neighborhood collection site for unopened food and usable clothing, akin to the Little Library movement. Perhaps old kitchen cabinets or an entertainment center (go ahead and toss that TV at the e-waste site and grab a book) could be salvaged for this purpose. What have you seen in your communities to repurpose perfectly usable goods that people just trash on move-out day?

Our 20-odd group of adult cyclists gathered on the scale at the solid waste compound and clocked in at around 3,000 pounds, about half that of a single SUV Hummer, a monumental waste.

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Greased bike chains and Rusty Tacos 

Feeling good about our individual weight and invigorated by the exercise on the ride back to downtown, we scarfed shrimp and brisket tacos by Rusty Tacos, which were fortunately neither rusty nor recycled, as in regurgitated (100% post-consumer…ingredients?). For a truly Tex-Mex feel, we had our picnic lunch on Mexican blankets spread over the square’s lawn.

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On the courthouse steps, a group of musicians provided folk and bluegrass tunes, as they do every Saturday. Denton vibrates music, down to the musical note bike stands that dot the downtown square.

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Daily ways to reduce our trash impact

The latest innovation in my home was to get a recycling canister twice as large as the trash bin. It works! Have you tried a visual trick to promote reuse and reduce garbage?

Here’s a quick ABC of my small actions for food-related waste:

A: Avoid plastic bags. Wash out produce bags and bring cloth tote bags to the grocery store

B: Bring Tupperware to restaurants or group meals where there’ll be leftovers instead of a Styrofoam (not recyclable) take-out box

C: Compost kitchen scraps. Meet your neighbors or ask on a local gardening forum for nearby composters.

Specifically for coffee:

A: Avoid disposable cups. Bring your own ceramic mug or to-go thermos.

B: Buy beans in bulk and a reusable coffee filter for Keurig-type machines, instead of disposable capsules.

C: Compost coffee grounds. Meet your neighbors or ask on a local gardening forum for nearby composters.

What will you keep out of the landfill tomorrow (and every day!) on America Recycles Day?