For me, it kind of depends. If I’m camping, for instance, and the campsites don’t have recycling I’ll simply put recyclables in a bag in my car and take it back home where I can recycle it. The same goes for if I’ve driven a few hours or something to a friend’s house in a nearby town and their town doesn’t recycle. I’ll just take it back to my house when I go and recycle it. If I’m on a beach or something and there is truly no recycling and I’m truly just walking around holding a can for the rest of the day, I’ll throw it in the garbage. You can’t always recycle even to the best of your intentions so it’s best not to get hung up on it. But for the majority of situations I really do try to make sure things get recycled. I just feel weird throwing bottles and stuff into the garbage.
If I can, I bring the item(s) home with me and recycle at home or bring to another nearby location where I can recycle.
If there’s someone in the location that I can ask (manager, clerk, attendant) about recycling (maybe I’m just not seeing where they put it) I usually ask them if they have recycling.
We don’t have recycling in my town so my boyfriend collects all the bottles and cans that he finds and uses them in building houses or lining our gardens. We think of cans and bottles as bricks. We use paper and cardboard for mulch or we burn them in our wood stove.
If there is no recycling in your area, check to see where the nearest centers are. Also, contact your local government and Chamber of Commerce to see if one can be set up; it could be there was no official demand, so one has to be established.
Also, search for clever ways to revycle items into something usable for your own personal use: artwork materials, make paper kindling bricks, etc.
Thankfully I live in a community with a lot of recycling centers and eco-friendly people. However, if I was in a situation where there was no recycling, I’d probably either hold onto the trash and recycle it at home, or give in and throw it away. It really depends on the situation, like haydenseder mentioned. The important thing is that you are trying and its the effort that counts. I think this also points to other issues about recycling in general, and why more awareness needs to be brought to communities that lack it.
I tend to burn a lot of the paper trash on camping trips or at home in the fireplace or burn barrel. Plastic containers often have other uses as planters or food storage containers. Paper bags are also very useful for drying food items and herbs. I also try to buy sauce containers that double as mason jars. When I live in areas that don’t recycle I am generally a lot more careful about the amount of packaging that I use. I may also make useful crafts with waste items or I will try to use something at least twice before throwing it away.
Personally, I get really frustrated and wonder why there isn’t any recycling. If I am able, I will try to hang onto it and bring it back to my apartment where I can recycle it there. If I am at an airport or stuck in a place where I have to throw it out, I do so sadly.
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