In my neighborhood, Thursday is recycling day. It's the day some of my neighbors put out by the curb an assortment of items to be picked up by city crews.
If I had to guess, based on what I see on Thursday mornings, I would guess that two or three households out of every 10 sort their trash and put out what can be recycled.
With the new trash system that starts May 3, I'm guessing many more households will begin sorting their trash. That's because the city is making it so easy. Each household has been given sturdy containers -- one for recycling and one for garbage -- that can be easily wheeled to the street on the appropriate collection days.
This means I can take one container of garbage to the curb on Mondays and a second container of recyclables on Thursdays. No more taking two containers on Mondays.
Our household is learning about what can and cannot be recycled. We like the fact that our trash only has to be sorted once. The trash industry calls this "single stream recycling." I don't think it could be any easier than this.
Right after our new trash containers were delivered, my wife and I began sorting. Since the recycling container was in our garage anyway, we decided to put it to good use.
To be honest, we had no idea how much of our trash could be recycled. It's way more than half.
We have made our best effort to sort the trash according to the instructions provided by the city. We still have some questions, since the instructions could not possibly cover every item. For example, can you put wire clothes hangers, the kind you get from the cleaners, in the recycling bin?
I believe the new trash system is going to have a tremendous impact on recycling in Cape Girardeau. I can see how the amount of garbage going to a landfill could be cut by more than half. That's a big deal for the city.
I've heard that many other households that have never recycled before are testing their new containers. Good.
Recycling made easy. The city has given us a gift. Let's not squander it.