Recycle  Take your aluminum cans to be recycled. Only one of us is a soda drinker. I frown upon it, but alas, it was a habit that was established long before our union. I hear tell that drinking out of aluminum cans is not great for your health, but plastic can leach out nasties too. I say go for the aluminum for better portion control, if you need help in that area, and reap the benefits of turning the cans in for a little cash. The last I checked you could get right around $.77 per pound for aluminum cans.

Recycling has other benefits too, such as less trash to haul away equals a lower garbage removal bill each month. While we pay a flat fee per full can, there are still those trash collectors out there that will charge by the bag.  It’s also better for the environment. In my city it is required that you recycle clear glass, brown glass, green glass, tin cans, and aluminum cans. Curbside pickup is offered here. We choose to gather our recyclables ourselves and take them to one of the many recycling drop-off points here in the city. We recycle magazines, newspapers,  corrugated cardboard, and plastics as well. There is even a drop off for brush and Christmas trees. They turn those into free mulch for anyone in the city who would like to come over and shovel their own. What a nice segue into another often forgotten way to save…

Compost  How much more could you cut down your garbage bill? You can compost most kitchen scraps, except for meat, fat, grease or cheese. Fruit and veg peels, coffee and tea grounds are good to use. Then there are leaves, grass, weeds (that haven’t gone to seed), manure from cows, horses and pigs (but not dog and cat droppings), and pet and human hair. Sounds weird I know. These are “green” items. Greens are high-nitrogen. Browns are high-carbon and include straw, dry leaves and weeds, paper and nutshells. You need a certain ratio in order for your compost pile to break down and “cook”. You don’t have to measure exactly. If you keep it at around two to three times as much brown as green.

So while you are collecting all of these goodies, where do you put them? Some just make their pile in the corner of their yard with easy access to the garden. Others make a bin out of blocks or wooden pallets. You can find fancy commercial bins for sale, but that would not be frugal. You have to make sure your compost gets air. Make sure your bin allows for airflow and also make sure it’s easy to turn your pile. It has to be damp, but not soggy. Too much water slows decomposition. If your pile contains the right components in the correct proportions it should generate its own heat even in the cold of winter. You can always insulate too. Use your decomposed compost in your garden. Make sure it is done cooking or it could hurt your plants. It should smell nice and look like garden soil. If in doubt, consult your nearest composting and gardening neighbor. They’ll appreciate the opportunity to share their knowledge and you may make a new friend. Win, win.

Recycling and composting are good for you and good for the environment. How do you make it easier to recycle and/or compost?

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