I am in the Chicago area visiting my wife’s family and I have just discovered something horrible – this area does not have a recycling program. None at all! Everything, including aluminum cans, glass jars, plastic bottles and all paper products, is thrown into the trash. Once the trash gets picked up, it goes right to the landfill and gets buried and/or burnt – nothing is sorted through and recycled. There is no place for anyone to take their recyclables even if they wanted to, which is terribly depressing. My mother-in-law knows about our “green-ness” and has started greening many aspects in her own home, but the recycling one just cannot be done.
Once we get back to Los Angeles, I am going to look into why this area of Illinois does not have a recycling program and what can possibly be done about it. The City of Chicago prides itself on being a “green” city, installing roof-top gardens and bike paths and preserving tons of open space, so you would think that they would be concerned with what the outlying suburbs are doing.
I guess the reason I am writing this here is to encourage anyone who lives in a town or city that does not have a recycling program to get involved and try to help create one. Recycling has to be easy for the average person to want to do. And when cities and towns make it difficult or impossible to do, tons of excess trash gets buried or burnt instead of recycled, which leads to more toxins in the groundwater and our air. One of the most important things any of us can do is to encourage our towns, and thus their citizens, to start recycling.