Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cumberland County, I'm getting ready to fuss on you...

Let me start by saying: I'm no rigid tree-hugger who makes my own toilet paper, or knits what would surely be multi-patterned and grossly uneven sweaters for myself, or rides my purple mountain bike (the one that: 1. I, in fact, bought at Wal-Mart and 2. has had a flat tire for roughly two years) to work every day, or who alienates potential partners with pretentious, unrealistic initiatives.


I like to garden. I appreciate a home-cooked meal. I choose to buy locally as often as possible. I attempt to reuse and recycle old materials. As much as I enjoy driving an old pickup truck with the windows down, I like my fuel-efficient hatchback a little bit more. I think there's something to global warming. Wastefulness - be it of food or paper or ability - frustrates me. I care about how animals, even those that I inevitably eat, are treated. I hate driving by that "farm" just prior to Summer Shade, the one that has far too many cows on far too little land. I appreciated having plastic and paper recycling trailers in Burkesville. ...


For months and months, I've been taking my recyclables to the county garage drop-off trailers; for months and months, I have therefore also been complaining, to anyone who would listen, how this service was being abused. It was nothing to stop by and see toilets or scrap metal or carpet pieces or glass or just random trash tossed in and around those trailers. There were green signs, reading "Plastic" and "Paper Products," in clear sight, yet, some still chose to dump whatever they wanted.

And, as a result, the recycling company has (understandably so) decided to pull those trailers, in effect, leaving absolutely no recycling option (at least that I'm aware of) in Cumberland County.

I'd love to continue ranting about irresponsibility, and selfishness, and wastefulness, and ignorance (and, I'm not calling people stupid; I'm implying "unawareness" with no desire to educate oneself), and laziness. That neither changes the current situation nor offers solutions for the future, however. So, here's what I propose:

1) Residents of Cumberland County need to support the fiscal court members when they are in the position to implement the recycling grant stipulations. Don't complain and say "that money needs to go elsewhere."
2) When we do get the recycling facility, let's regulate it more than was being done at the county garage (and I do realize that wasn't the county workers' responsibility). Have cameras set up and fine those who abuse the drop-off requirements. Have closed bins that make it impossible to dump some big load of ridiculous stuff. Implement an awareness and education campaign.
3) In the meantime, let's all cut back on the number of garbage bags we put at the end of our driveways. Reuse cups, use actual plates, get cloth napkins, compost, put items on the county yard-sale Facebook page rather than throw them away, be creative - find ways to repurpose and reuse as many products as you can.
4) Take your recyclables to the drop-of bins available in the Columbia Wal-Mart parking lot.
5) If you can't do this yourself, here is my proposal...

If you will collect and separately bag your plastics, paper, and cardboard, and bring them to the Library on a designated day, I will haul them to Columbia. The first day: Saturday, November 12. If you come to the Library at noon, I will load the stuff in Dad's old truck (yes, the one that pollutes the air more than my car) and take it to be recycled.

I realize there are some flaws in this plan. No, traveling 30 miles is not the most environmentally-friendly thing to do. This does mean that you may have to bag and store the recyclables in your basement or garage for a couple of weeks. There may be absolutely zero people who show up on November 12.

But, you know what? It's something...and I think that's the best we can do sometimes. Just get started. Be open to suggestions and constructive criticism. Before you know it, you just might be riding your purple Huffy to work.
If you're looking for creative project ideas for repurposing, check out:
Funky Junk Interiors

For infomation on the Eastern Kentucky PRIDE initiative, check out:
Eastern KY PRIDE

To access the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, check out:
KY Dept. for Environmental Protection
The City Museum in St. Louis


  1. I am so spoiled that we have curbside recycling here in Bowling Green. I can not stand to throw away a recyclable and am lucky that I have such a convenient option. Good luck with your efforts, I'm sure many others share your frustration!

  2. Even a horse in a vast field will not eat where it lays waste,youd think people with all their superior intellect would understand you can only do it for so long before it comes back to bite you in the ass........You go girl!!

  3. Rock on! I need to be better about recycling, so thank you for push in the butt. Love the City Museum...the best place to be 5 again and GO CARDINALS!

  4. Thanks, Lindsey, Dr. Melissa, and I'm betting the one and only Jim Brady for your comments. I have been so upset about this and just wish I had better solutions. It's frustrating when a few people can ruin a service that is made available to and for an entire community and one that benefits society at large.

    It seems an awareness campaign needs to precede the next recycling initiative. Until people care, action is unsustainable. Nonetheless, until that point is reached, I have no issue with short-term strategies like fines; seems to have worked with littering campaigns to some extent. Although, as Jim will point out (and in much less politically correct terms than me:)), some STILL show disregard for these laws and social ideas as well.