poisonwood's Diaryland Diary

Date: Jul. 29, 2008 . Time: 8:36 a.m.

recycling Entry:



I notice news about Houston, good and bad, because of my fellow bloggers. Apparently Houston has the dubious honor of being the worst recycler of the nation's 30 largest cities.

I'm sure that there are many smaller cities that are also very bad. I was surprised in Alb*any that my Gra*ndma had no way to recycle. The place where she lives doesn't recycle anything, and obviously most of its residents don't drive and would have a hard time hauling recyclables to their cars even if they did. So, nothing gets recycled, not even cans - except in my Grandma's case. My uncle stops by and picks up the cans and takes them to a recycling center.

Houston recycles just 2.6 percent of its total waste, according to a study this year by Waste News, a trade magazine. By comparison, San Francisco and New York recycle 69 percent and 34 percent of their waste respectively. Moreover, 25,000 Houston residents have been waiting as long as 10 years to get recycling bins from the city.

My trash service is expensive, but they recycle most stuff, and I just have to separate it from my garbage, not sort it. At work, we have to sort recyclables, but that's not hard to do with a large company (separate bins for each item everywhere there is trash). I'm not sure how the pickup works.

This I thought was most absurd:

The city picks up garbage at some 340,000 households, and fewer than half have recycling bins. About 25,000 households are on the waiting list for the bins, but the city says it cannot afford more bins.

Those without the special bins must cart their recyclable garbage to one of just nine full-service drop-off depots in the city.

I remember when the scandal broke that in Ire*land they were collecting recyclables under the premise that they would be recycled and then shipping them to a landfill. Something similar happened in VA as well. My parents used to drive out of their way to a recycling center than recycled a particular type of glass or plastic, and it was discovered that this center collected that plastic but didn't recycle it. They couldn't make money on recycling it, so they didn't bother, but they collected it because they knew people like my parents would use their facility because they recycled that item. Amazing.

8:36 a.m. - Jul. 29, 2008


bags again

I'm certainly not passionately in favor of the plastic bag bag. I use plastic bags for this and that, but no doubt getting rid of them will be better for the environment. I'll probably skip the bags in small trash barrels, and they sell biodegradable bags to pick up after the dog. And, they cost money; they're not illegal. It won't break the bank to buy a few from time to time. People's anger really amazes me. The people who responded in the comments are absolutely infuriated.

As a Kent resident, this won't affect me unless grocery stores volunarily comply, which I doubt they will.

B and I had a great hike to the "high country" this weekend. We hiked to some higher alpine lakes, 11 miles round trip with decent elevation gain. I'm a bit sore today. We were planning to camp next weekend and hike both days, but B is feeling a bit off, so that may be called off.

6:35 p.m. - Jul. 28, 2008


on relatives

I guess I should note that my problem with airlines isn't the prices - it's reliability. Many of United's flights are less than 50% on time. Of course, all the airlines are reducing the number of flights. Maybe with less flights they'll be able to be more on time - I'm not holding my breath, though. They're reducing personnel, too.

The thing is, many airlines have gone bankrupt - but they don't go out of business. US Air has been bankrupt not once but twice in recent years. Maybe if they were allowed to go out of business there'd be less competition which might result in higher prices and airlines being able to deliver a more quality product.

Don't get me wrong. I care about price. Flying East swamps all my other costs for the year. My second most expensive cost this year next to airfare is a lens I bought. Other than that, no other "optional" expenditure is even close.

Visiting my Grand*ma is always a bit of a shock. She's 86. Last time I saw her, she was 83. People change fast when they're old - kind of link when they're young I guess. My Grandma isn't that far off 100% mentally. It seems rude to get to detailed, but let's just say I don't see much sign of dementia. But her body is deteriorating, slowly but surely. And, at that age, bad things can happen really fast. I've visited her at the retirement community often enough that I know a lot of the people there. Two people I had dinner with on previous trips are now dead. Both were AOK when I met them last. Others have deteriorated mentally in an obvious way.

I can really relate to my Grandma. We have a lot in common. I see a lot of myself in her - or her in me. We enjoy many of the same things. And yet she is 86. How does one become resigned to being 86, to having difficulty walking, to not really being able to fly (and thus travel) at all?

Last night I had a good cry. At first I couldn't figure out why I was crying. I had a wonderful time in NY visiting my Grandma and other relatives. However, at the same time, I feel incredible sadness at the injustice of people I love getting old, of the fact that every time I get on a plane to leave them I have to accept the fact that I may never see them again.

I think about my Aun*tie Florrie in Ire*land all the time as well. She is 90 years old. She still lives on her own in a townhouse in Dublin she bought decades ago. (She never married.) How long before I pick up the phone and hear that she's sick or worse? It doesn't bear thinking about.

I guess the second thing that just rips me apart is having people I love and care about so far away. All of my relatives on my mother's side, just about, except my mother live in Albany. All of my father's relatives, just about, live in Ire*land - which is a very small country. It must be a wonderful thing to have all your relatives within arm's reach. I'd like that for my children, if I have them, but where should I set up shop? My parents are in Roa*noke, which isn't exactly overburdened with jobs. My sister is moving to Pa*lo Al*to for business school at Stan*ford. My brother's in Rich*mond - and then there's all the aforementioned relatives in Alba*ny and Ire*land.

5:48 p.m. - Jul. 24, 2008


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