Wednesday, April 21, 2021

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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Mar 04, 2021

Incorporating Environmentally Friendly Habits Into Your Everyday Life

Submitted by Scott Goldstein of the Holmdel Green Team

I have been an avid recycler for many years, yet convincing my own family to change recycling behavior has been a challenge. I still need to check my son’s trash for recyclables. My wife is on board with taking the bag of kitchen scraps out to the compost pile since she logs every step, but she leaves emptying the bag up to me. I suggested using compostable bags, but she prefers reusing the plastic vegetable bags. We do keep cloth bags in our car for shopping, but now that New Jersey will be banning plastic shopping bags, my wife is hoarding them to clean up our dog’s poop. The suggestion of using a plastic shovel, well, she didn’t dig it.

I have significantly reduced the use of paper towels by using cloth towels and, with the COVID-19 paper shortage, have converted to polyester cloth table napkins. I did suggest installing a bidet but that didn’t go over well – go figure!

The good news is my other son brought home all his paper from college to be shredded and composted, which I dig! He even brought kitchen scraps when he lived in Long Island, just what an active composter wants from his son. He continues to compost in Arizona and has found a local place to store it.

My firefighter son is on a seltzer splurge, so I have lots of aluminum cans and plastic bottles these days. I sorted out the aluminum cans and crushed them, with the intent of bringing them to a metal recycler for cash. Too bad my wife put them out with the normal recycling on pick up day. Foiled again! I’m stepping up my game by installing a seltzer dispenser which works with a refillable Co2 tank. We will be able to fill reusable aluminum and plastic bottles with filtered water or seltzer. I installed a two-stage filter system at the kitchen sink and will be evaluating its ability to eliminate other contaminants. I still need to connect both ice makers to this filtered water system. Except for the seltzer hiccup, this has eliminated single-use water bottles.

My pantry is 95 percent converted to glass jars which last longer than reusable deli containers if you don’t break them. This eliminates the use of zip-close bags for storage. I reuse supermarket vegetable bags in place of new zip-close bags, something I learned from my grandmother.

I plan to take my white Styrofoam to Middletown for recycling and have already used a recycler in Freehold for metals other than cans and tins, which was quite profitable.

With the popularity of Amazon Prime during this pandemic, we get a lot of cardboard boxes that can be recycled. I wish there were a way to return them so they could be reused. Every two weeks I have two large recycling containers. Remember when the town started recycling and we could only put out 5-gallon pails?

This April will mark 10 years since I canceled my garbage pickup. I can honestly say behavior modification is a work in progress. My ultimate goal is to figure out how to stop using nonrecyclable products in the first place.