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My paperboard hoard that will soon be going to my town's official recycling location.

My paperboard hoard that will soon be going to my town’s official recycling location.

My town has a decent recycling program. We put glass, paper, aluminum and plastic into our bins. There’s one thing that’s missing, though. Two, actually — cardboard and paperboard, the stuff they use to make food boxes. Until recently I took my recycling to the max by saving all the boxes and packaging I could, and dropping it off in a neighboring town, which recycles both. I did it once night had fallen. The recycle bins were at the curb, but I still prayed no one saw me and questioned what I was doing. Yes, I know how crazy that sounds, but it just seemed like a sin to throw out boxes when I could drop them in a recycling bin less than a mile away. (An interesting fact from RecycleAcrossAmerica.com: Recycling cardboard only takes 75% of the energy needed to make new cardboard.)

This weekend we got a newsletter from my town that will basically change my recycling life. It is starting a cardboard and paperboard recycling program! There will be three drop-off locations that will be open on Saturday mornings. Whoohoo!

I posted on Facebook and two other really nice moms shared the information. One of them posted to her own timeline that now she can stop being a hoarder, too. (Seems she also saved her cardboard and paperboard, except she didn’t have to hide it. She took her stuff to a commercial recycling place about ten miles from her house.) The other mom, realizing that most people don’t have the time to go to the drop-off location, suggested that we create a collection point in our neighborhood. This, she said, would encourage more people to recycle. I was so excited that two moms care about the same things I do. It was a revelation. I have felt like a recycling weirdo for a while now.

Case in point: A few years ago someone asked me why I bothered. One person couldn’t make a real difference, she said. At the time I simply ignored the message. I disagreed. This weekend’s Facebook experiences shows me that yes, one voice coupled with others does make a difference in the end. In fact, I have a feeling that if this program goes well they will expand the program to our curbside recycling — at least I hope they will. And the best part for me? No more clandestine, late night drop offs. I can recycle publicly now! How exciting!

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