Mini Extreme Recycling: What Are You Doing? – PlanetSave

Mini Extreme Recycling: What Are You Doing?

I admit, I am not an extreme recycler.  But I am trying to recycle more and encourage others to do the same.  It just takes a little creativity.

A few weeks ago, I helped my 9-year-old daughter host a lemonade stand to raise money for her teen-age baby sitter’s annual service trip to Costa Rica.  We sold lemonade and home-made rice crispy treats.  The recycling angle?  We asked everyone to give us back their plastic cup, and I brought them home, rinsed them out, and added them to my recycling pile.  So Sara (my daughter’s baby sitter) will head off to Costa Rica to help low-income women and children with a slightly smaller carbon footprint.

On Saturday night, my friends hosted a pot-luck barbeque.  There’s probably nothing I like better then to spend a beautiful  summer Saturday night right up against Lake Michigan, talking and eating with friends.  At the end of the evening, I noticed a few large plastic bottles in the garbage.  So I scooped them out, placed them in a biodegradable Whole Foods shopping bag, and added them to my own personal recycling pile, once more.  Pot-luck recycling for a pot-luck meal.

If you are reading this, I’ll bet you already tote your reusable sac–paper, cloth, hemp–to your local farmer’s market, just like I do.  Now I am bringing bag more things to my bi-weekly markets to store my produce, like used 1/2 pint blueberry containers.  I just place the juicy berries, flavorful tomatoes, or tiny snap peas in my own recycled container, and hand the one at the farm stand back to the farmer.  The farmers love it because they can hold on to the small wooden box that held the organic cherry tomatoes in assorted colors that I am buying and use it for another costumer, and feel good about recycling just a little bit more.

What kind of mini extreme recycling are you doing?

Photo from my own collection.

About the Author

In trying to find the most effective way to help other people reduce their carbon footprints, Sarah turned to one of her favorite activities: writing. She started a green business,, to help her clients plan newsletters for their eco-friendly businesses. She also started her blog,, to provide useful advice to anyone who wants to lead a more environmentally friendly life. She also regularly contributes to, to let other Chicagoans know about eco-friendly stores, restaurants, and events. Sarah, an internal medicine doctor, works part-time in community health centers in the Chicago area. She graduated from Barnard College and Columbia University, and she lives in Evanston, IL, with her daughter and her husband. Stop by some time for some delicious, sustainable food--Sarah and her husband love to cook and entertain--any extras will end up outback in their composter.
  • F.D. Katso

    Every little bit helps

  • adamsfamily

    great. simple thing make us live ant think

  • Oh, and I forgot, but a few months back I posted about my own (frustrating) adventures in recycling:

  • ben volio

    What’s the name of the teenage girl?

  • Very, very cool idea for the stand. We reuse regular ol’ sippy cups at our block parties. Though we might stop that soon in light of the BPA concerns. (Our tot uses a Klean Kanteen or Siggie the rest of the time.)

  • Robert Lovinger

    While some of the recycling described here seems very worthwhile, I would be cautious about buying produce to be eaten raw in containers that have been used once. There is a question of the inadvertant transmission of pathogens I should think.

  • DFL

    I can’t say that I love recycling – it’s still a bit of a pain. But now, due to my family’s chiding, I can no longer throw out bottles or cans. I just have to bring them home and recycle them (or find a recycling bin). Sigh…little by little.

  • sharon

    fun and informative–everyone can do simple things to make a big cumulative difference, and starting at a young age. Kudos to these girls!