< two fifty: life in a tiny apartment.

take out your recycling.

i know we've talked about garbage already. and two weeks ago we talked about cutting down on bathroom supplies to reduce waste and improve sanity, but it occured to me this week that we hadn't yet covered garbage's twin sister, recycling.

the theme is obviously the same: get rid of it. but the process can be somewhat different.

picture this scene: i'm making dinner. chez moi this means copious amounts of milk, butter, and heavy cream. let's say i'm whipping up a heavy macaroni and cheese with a bechamel sauce. just the thing for this weather we've been having...

to begin, i look for butter. the butter dish is empty and so i wrestle the contents of my fridge until i find the cardboard box of butter hanging out by the jar of pickles i'd forgotten about. one stick left! i unwrap the butter and plop it into its much more refined glass house. recycling rules 101 say i can't recycle that shiny wax paper covering the butter, but i now have an empty box. cardboard box #1.

i get the butter melting and add a few tablespoons of flour, and it's time for the milk. whoops, just a little bit left. i add it slowly until nary a drip comes out and now i'm left with cardboard box #2.

my magical mystery assistant has been grating cheese and doing other useful things, like putting a pot of water on to boil. it's roiling away, time to add the pasta. we're hungry so we go for the entire pound. cardboard box #3.

all of this cooking has made me a little thirsty, so i decide to finish off the last of that rosé that's been tempting me all day. sorry assistant, just enough for one. we've got bottle #1, item to recycle #4. i'm practically floating in recyclables.

what to do?

recycling is unruly. differently sized boxes and bottles and cans don't smush neatly into a cabinet. in a tiny apartment, there's no room for an elaborate recycling holding area and this means the stuff is just hanging out in plain sight. of course, i've been in a fair few apartments that are not at all small where the recycling has long overflowed its once tidy compartment.

for me, there are only two options: 1). make a quick break out the front door, down the stairs and to the side of the road where our building's recycling bins stand guard, or 2). neatly arrange various items in a spot near the door and off the counter, to be recycled after dinner. if you live five flights up, consider devoting a canvas bag to the purpose of collecting these items. hang it on your doorknob and take it out in the morning. i promise you, clearing the clutter is like being able to breathe a deeper breath.

now to ponder how we limit all this waste in the first place. anyone have a cow?

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