Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Help for a Hoarder Like Me

The secret rituals of my double life are not what you'd expect.  You might never guess it, but I am a Hoarder. The fixation, the obsessiveness and the compulsion that comes with hoarding starts with breakfast and continues all day long.  But, at least its not junk and clutter that I hoard.   Its recyclables. 

There's something about that rounded triangle on the bottom of a plastic carton that strikes my fancy... is it a #2 plastic?  Or even better... a #5?  After I enjoy my morning Kashi cereal mixed with yogurt, I meticulously rinse the yogurt cup and leave it next to the sink, ready for the recycling bin.  Pop cans go there too.  I even recycle my contact cases when I swap out to a new bottle of solution. There's no such thing as a small step when it comes to saving the environment.  

There's a few things that are problematic about my Green Hoarding Habits.  Primarily, many will argue that the actual act of recycling (the truck, the workers, the recycling plants) probably has a bigger carbon footprint than the benefit of recycling the materials collected.  Who knows?   All that's important to me is that I feel like I'm doing my part to help out; that somehow I am stopping the degradation of the environment, deforestation, and abuse of natural resources.  Oh yes, every time I save a pudding cup and a Diet Dr. Pepper can, the world becomes a better place.  

The other problem with my GHH disorder was set off by the Wine incident.  I used to fill our blue recycling bin to the brim!  Cans, Bottles, Glass, all ready to be reincarnated and repurposed for the better.  Except for the first time I came home to find my empty recycling bin and a bowling-pin-arrangement of empty wine bottles in the driveway.  They could have told me that they don't take glass rather than broadcasting to the Bible Belt that I prefer reds to whites.  A few weeks later they took our recycling bin away.  As it turns out, no one on the street has one anymore. They collect recycling one street away from our house, but not on our street.   This has only exacerbated the hoarding issue.

Now I bag my recyclables, and then wait until the time is right.  When I finally have enough bags in the garage, I start out for my 5:30am run a little early and deposit 1 bag per house in the neighborhood one block over. I used to do this at night, but it embarrassed Paul and he thought someone might call the police.  Who are the gonna call? Captain Planet? 

The only help for a Hoarder like me is a company like SunChips.  They recently introduced packaging that is completely bio-degradable 4-6 weeks after you throw it away.  How cool is that? Yes, it takes away the sheer pleasure of recycling, but I think its a great move on their part in terms of responsibility.  It also is a very strategic complement to their core branding strategy.

Bravo, SunChips!  A small GreeK restaurant in Orlando is the only horse in second place at this point.  Upon closer inspection of the straws that came with our drinks, I found that they were made out of corn by-products!   Pretty cool. Straw Chewers, beware.  As I played with the straw a bit, it was very brittle and easy to shatter.   If you have questions about SunChips, go ahead an call their 1-800 number. Apparently it says that "there's no such thing as a silly question." 

1 comment:

  1. Leah, thanks for your enthusiasm about the new SunChips compostable bag. The bag actually decomposes in about 14 weeks in a hot, active compost bin (not 4 weeks, unfortunately). If you’d like to learn more about composting, please visit our Web site,