to begin with, i take it for granted that people recycle their waste to their best ability. i wish there were more collection points in the city, but we've managed so far with the ones available to us. needless to say, i hope it was all much easier – like in germany, for example – but i can deal with the system we have as well.
i am aware of the many arguments claiming that recycling is redundant and i know that global inequality is apparent in many matters regarding the subject, such as recycling electronic hardware. ultimately, the problem of a trash-engulfed world will not be solved with recycling, but by radically reducing waste production, but in the meantime trying to reuse whatever we are tossing away seems like a plausible activity.
to our solution, then.
one of the first things we decided after moving in to our new home a bit over a year ago was where to organize the recycling. our kitchen trash bins were enough for biowaste and whatever unrecyclable waste we might produce, but i wanted a simple solution for returnable bottles, glass, metal, paper and carton.
the thing is: i am lazy and cannot be bothered to take newspapers, magazines, bottles and whatnot out all that often. therefore, the requirement for some proper storage was quite urgent.
in a household of infinite shoes – a sneaker and a heels collector do not a storage-friendly couple make – all closet space is highly valued, but we decided from the get-go that one of our high hallway wardrobes would have to give half of its space for recycling. it is undoubtedly true that shoeboxes adorning the perimeters of our habitat are more aesthetic than almost any available recycling center if left in plain sight as the latter tend to be some ugly mofos.
with a couple of simple, cheap and almost decently attractive boxes from ikea we had our system ready. the top one is for return bottles, the middle for paper and carton and the bottom for glass and metal. on the left side is an extra lid and on the right a collection of paper bags for reuse.
|someone's been gulping on vitaminwater lately...|
although we need to sort out the paper from the carton and the glass from the metal before tossing it, the reasonable size of the container divides the task to bearable episodes to be performed at a time. quite honestly i think it does work out nicely.
and as you might have noted, it isn't a particularly creative solution: storage boxes in a closet. additionally, they are storage boxes designed for recycling. so why am i eager to show it, you might ask.
the reason is that knowing the limited amount of living space the average finn has at their disposal in addition to the constant lack of storage space, our decision to dedicate a large part of essential and fully functional space to the mundane task of recycling becomes clearly a conscious choice.
we certainly do not have more room or more of the much treasured closets than people living in central helsinki on average have. we also wanted to challenge (in our own life, that is) the assumption that all waste management should happen in the kitchen and be fitted under the sink.
i am aware that none of this is really worthy of praise nor does it count as original thinking; there are plenty of others making similar value-based decisions every day. some of my friends have thoroughly inventive systems at their homes. moreover, most people discussing their problems with eco-friendly living are really only after design savvy solutions, such as the ovetto, instead of eyesores or something that genuinely does not cram an already small space.
however, there is plenty of excuse talk: if only we had a house instead of an apartment or a proper utility room or a garage or an extra 20 square meters... it just seems that for some the simple decision to recycle can create an immense source of discontentment and personal nuisance. although it makes me no saint, i can tell you that it really comes down to priorities.
how are you dealing with the requirement to recycle?