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Starting to do their family's part for a greener planet Earth
Earth Week was a good time to start recycling

Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 4/28/2009

I HAVE a terrible confession to make--my family doesn't recycle. My 8-year-old daughter, Celia, has been after me for a year to do it. This morning she brought down her tiny garbage can from her bathroom, drew the recycling symbol on the side and said, "This can be our recycling bin."

I could offer you tons of reasons why I am so late to do this, but in the end, it's simple ignorance. I didn't completely understand how to get started, so I just didn't do it.

The sight of Celia's little garbage can woke me up--and with it being Earth Day and all, I decided to figure out how to get started.

I spoke with Rita Shifflett, one of the owners of Shifflett's Trash Service, a locally owned company. She said they would send me a bin and an instruction booklet right out that would explain the process. Members of homeowners' associations who have contracts with Shifflett's get free recycling services. People who don't have contracts are charged a small extra fee each month for the service.

Shifflett further relieved my fears of recycling by telling me that now you can put all the approved recyclables into one bin. I always had the impression that you had to spend a lot of time dividing all your recyclables up.

Shifflett's and our local landfill authority, the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board, use a form of recycling called single-stream recycling. That means all approved recyclable products can be thrown into one bin and taken to the landfill.

My next call was to the landfill.

Diane Jones, recycling coordinator at the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board, said the co-mingled recycled materials are brought to an enormous facility at their Eskimo Hill site, where they are crushed and loaded onto a conveyer belt. The conveyer belt transfers the materials to trucks, which move the recyclables to a plant in Maryland owned by Waste Management Recycle America.

The recyclables are sorted by machines and sent to buyers, who will make new products out of them.

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