COLUMN: Recycling worth the work

Recycling takes such a little bit of effort, but it helps our world become a better place. For the past couple of months, I’ve been interning with Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful, a non- profit in town that is affiliated with Keep Texas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful.

While I have always cared about the environment and tried to recycle when I could, I’ve gained a new appreciation for recycling, conservation and overall just doing what is right when it comes to the environment.

I will say I’m not always perfect. Some days you’ll see me with a plastic water bottle, and I take the occasional long shower. While recycling is important, it’s like dieting. You’re only successful if you make it a lifestyle choice. I’ve taken small steps to get to where I am today, and I hope to continue to be greener every year.

I began with recycling water bottles. I always bought Ozarka or Dasani because I thought it tasted better. Unless the water in your house comes from a well or is not trustworthy, there is not a good reason to buy water bottles.

The water in your water bottles come from the same places that your tap water is sourced, and the plastic can contaminate your water if it gets hot. A great solution to plastic water bottles is reusable water bottles. The greenest option would be a stainless steel water bottle, because the acrylic and plastic ones are hard to recycle.

In Nacogdoches, you can recycle plastic labeled one and two. You can find what type of plastic your container is made of on the bottom of the container. Plastic one is usually the clear types of plastics that make up water bottles, soda bottles, some shampoo bottles and peanut butter jars. Plastic two is usually opaque and makes up plastic grocery bags, laundry detergent bottles, some shampoo and conditioner bottles, and yogurt cups.

Always check to see what kind of plastic you are recycling. If you throw a plastic three or four into the bin, then the whole bin is contaminated. This is very troublesome because that causes many pounds of plastic to be brought into landfills and might end up in the ocean, rivers or creeks.

Whatever material you are recycling should always be clean, as well. Throwing away a shampoo bottle that still has a little bit of shampoo in it can cause a whole load of plastic to be thrown into landfills, as well. Rinse out your bottles (even soda bottles) before you throw them into the recycling bin.

Also, recycling bins are not trash bins. If you think that the janitor is going to grab a candy wrapper or a straw out of a recycling bin, you’re wrong. It is not the janitor’s job to baby-sit the recycling bins. Being a college student means taking responsibility for your actions; it’s not that hard, people.

Recycling plastics can be your recycling gateway drug. It makes me feel good to bring a box of plastic to the recycling center. Every bit of plastic that was made still exists today, so at least recycle it to bring new life to these products that do not decompose.

The recycling center is located behind the Nacogdoches Public Library.

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