What does your city recycle? Not what you may think…

To my surprise, and after a year and a half of putting yogurt cups and styrofoam into the recycling bin, I discover Norfolk doesn’t recycle styrofoam or yogurt cups. Well, what do you know? I had to visit their website to find out what I COULD and COULD NOT recycle.
So what to do with all these pieces?

So many pieces to recycle for a bit of yogurt!

Yogurt = eaten
Yogurt container =  The shop Green Alternatives at the Five Points Community Farmer’s Market sends these to  TerraCycle, (who recycles them into new products or buyable art). You can also send products to TerraCycle yourself and they pay you for your trash.
Foil = recycling bin
Top = sent to Caps-n-Cups (a program that recycles all tops to keep them out of America’s water ways.) The hair salon Aveda also reycyles tops.

So many pieces to deal with just to eat yogurt. Maybe I should break down and buy my own damn cow.

If you’re serious about recycling, you’ll need to check your city’s recycling/waste disposal web site or call them. I promise you’ll learn something you didn’t know.

The city of Norfolk doesn't recycle styrofoam. That would be too convenient, now wouldn't it? And what would be the fun in that? No more running around town like a chicken with my head cut off, on my quest to save the world.

What the city of Norfolk recycles and what they don’t:

Norfolk WILL NOT recycle paper cups, napkins, plastic bags, styrofoam, cross-cut shredded paper, plastic cups, plates, bowls, utensils, lids or tops.

Norfolk WILL recycle plastic bottles and jugs, mixed paper, steel, tin, and aluminum cans, flattened cardboard boxes, glass bottles, and shredded paper strips.

 Other places I found to take difficult-to-recycle items in the city of Norfolk:

1.Ernie Morgan Environmental Action Center (right before you drive into the Norfolk Zoo) opens from 8:30a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.
They have a household battery recycling drop-off outside to use anytime, as well as examples of various compost bins to learn from and compare.

Kudos to the city of Norfolk.

You'll find it around back.

2. Green Alternatives, a company selling items that won’t harm the environment, are located at the Five Points Community Farmer’s Market in Norfolk. They send hard-to-recycle items to TerraCycle such as: empty and clean 6 oz & 32 oz yogurt containers, energy bar wrappers, Starbucks coffee bags, Unilever spread containers, drink pouches, cookie wrappers, candy wrappers, Kashi packaging, Preserve toothbrushes, prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, and  ink cartridges. (All food packaging must be cleaned.) They pass used packaging such as bubble wrap and  styrofoam peanuts to Spotlight Books.

I spotted granola bar, Power bar, and Cliff bar wrappers.

Only preserve toothbrushes, not any other kind. They're the only ones recyclable.



19 responses to “What does your city recycle? Not what you may think…

  1. misswhiplash

    Jennifer, do come to Bulgaria and show them how to recycle.
    Nobody here in my village knows anything about such things, in fact they do not even use trash bags for their rubbish, just throw it all in loose.
    It is disgusting!

    Help needed in BG

  2. Oh, that makes me so sad. It takes time, I guess. What frustrates me the most is when people know the good it does, but can’t be bothered because “it’s too much trouble.” Life is too much trouble half the time, but we live it!
    But they are recycling in your city now? You said they just started?

  3. We have pretty good recycling programs out here in Los Angeles. My wife and I don’t generate much trash in our household and only put out our trash and recycle bins out every 2 to 3 weeks and even then they are rarely full. Every few months I cash in my aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles for some pocket money. As far as I know the local communities are profiting on their recycling efforts.

    Tossing It Out

    • God bless California. They always seem to be ahead of everyone else. When we lived in CT, if we took the bottles to the recycling center, we got the money for them! I’d never experienced that before except with aluminum cans. I just hope the rest of the states eventually catch up with what you guys are doing out west. And I wish they’d hurry up about it! 🙂
      It gives me great hope when I hear people like you are doing their part, Lee.
      THANK YOU FOR RECYCLING! Thank you for making a difference.
      (And thank you L.A. for being up with the program!)

  4. Spain isn’ t up there with the best but we recycle plastic, glass & paper. One good thing though, the communal bins (dumpsters) are filled with everyone’s junk, furniture, clothes, crockery, you name it spilling out all over the street. Every day I see two Moroccan guys with a van sorting through it all, loading it onto the back of their truck and taking it home to fix up for the sunday morning flea market. I love them!!

    • Hey, plastic, glass and paper is a start, right? That’s good to hear!
      I love the Moroccan guys going through the communal bins! That’s so awesome. I’ve seen a little bit of that here at the Goodwill Store (thrift store) even though I think it’s offically illegal. (But that’s only because they sell the donations at the Goodwill, they don’t with the communal bins.) So, really, those guys are saving that stuff from the landfill. It’s the utlimate reusing/recycling program. You made my heart happy. I’ll sleep well tonight knowing people are out there making a difference.
      I really appreciate you coming over and visiting my green blog. I like yours because it’s about food! (I have another one called G.I. Crockpot where I note all my adventures and misadventures of cooking.) I’m not really good at it yet. But I aspire to be like you. (I mean I’ll never reach restaurant status like you did!) I am also trying to implement more vegetarian meals into our diet so I’ve found your blog to be really helpful. I need to look up Andalucia, Spain. I lived in Madrid close to a year way back in 1994 and traveled all over from San Sebastian to Seville mostly during Semana Santa when the country shut down. It was my first experience abroad and with olive oil!
      I’ll be at your blog often. I really enjoy the pictures too! Thanks for coming by!!

  5. Great post! I actually went on my waste management’s website and of course it broadly says “we recycle everything”. So I have to wonder if they really do.

    By the way, which recipe did you end up trying out?? The molten chocolate cake or the trifle?

    • Aww. Thanks for reading my post! So, they recyce everything, huh? Yeah, but you’re in Colorado which is full of Californians who have probably brought all that with them. They probably do recycle everything! Still, it does make you wonder…..that’s a pretty broad term.
      So, I decided on the trifle since it’s light and summery. I went out and bought all the stuff but didn’t have anything fancy smancy like the cake dish you had…..which I think really adds to its presentation and prettiness. The party is tomorrow and I ended up making a sweet potatoe pie which was quick and easy, BUT….I have a plan.
      We’re moving next week. We’ll be in transition between houses and will be staying with my bro-in-law. He has the little, tiny glass pyrex bowls similar to the ones you used in your individual trifle post. I already have all the ingredients (will have to get new strawberries…) but guess who’s going to be treated to individual trifles for letting us stay in his house? He’s going to love it! I’ll let you know how it turns out, probably the night I make it. I’ll have to do a post about you and your trifles and add links to you, just as soon as we get settled in. I’ll give you a heads up. Your recipes are so amazing. Especially that homemade granola. OMG. I cannot wait to try that. You know, we’re trying to get away from the packaging, so that helps me so much!!
      And where can I get one of those glass cake dishes like you have? Do you use it often?

  6. YOu should def get your own cow! Until then, try making your own yoghurt! If not, I save all those yoghurt containers and use them to freeze soup and such. Perfect! Gotta keep the lids intact, and if not you can put them in old bread bags and use a twist tie to close.

  7. I like the idea of using the yogurt containers to freeze soups and such. Good idea! Another friend of mine asked me if I’d thought about making my own yogurt. I mean I turn the runny store bought into the thick, Greek variety, but that’s not exaclty “making your own.” I’ll have to look into that, but I might end up needing my own cow afterall, huh? 🙂

  8. How do you turn normal yoghurt into Greek style?

  9. I put a cheescloth over a strainer and put the strainer over a pot. Pour the yogurt into the strainer and it takes mine sometimes 9 to 12 days to strain out the whey. I have to scrap it into a new area of the cheescloth with a spatula every few days to keep the cheesecloth from clogging. The yogurt will be so thick you can sometimes pick it up (if you let it go too long), but it’s just like the expensive store bought yogurt. I use the whey in soups so I don’t waste anything.

  10. Huh! That’s interesting. Though I think I might just spring the extra pennies for the real thing – but then maybe you have a point as the whey would be nice to use in other things.

  11. Yeah, I was trying to save money, but it does take a long time for the whey to drain. But I’m not in a hurry. I’m the big yogurt fan in the house anyway!

  12. What a great website! I love all of your postings. I am a military wife and we just moved to Hampton. We have recycle bins at our condo, and it gets picked up once a week, but they have such a strict list of what can be put in there we don’t even recycle – it’s because we don’t normally purchase any of the items on that list. We don’t drink soda or alcohol, we don’t use a lot of pre-packed or plastic items and rarely buy anything that has styrofoam in it. We do participate in a farm co-op and drink raw milk, get meat and eggs from the farm, and veggies and grains when in-season. The rest of the produce we try to buy locally, and if not, at the commissary. I loved the documentary on Netflix called the Non-impact Man (or something like that) where he changes his whole life to not give ONE cent to the government or non-local agency. He gets off electricity, gets rid of his tv, car, etc… It’s an amazing movie.

  13. So good to hear you don’t even need to use the recycling bin because you don’t buy the stuff in the first place. Bea Johnson always says refuse first, recycle last.
    I’m going to have to watch this movie Non-impact Man. Everyone’s talking about it!
    Where is this farm co-op? Is it with Polyface Farms?

    • I get my milk and some meat from Avery’s Branch Farms. I get my eggs and meat from Drury Farms and/or Polyface and I get a lot of other meats from Windhaven.

  14. I wish we had known more about what was going on when I was up there. I felt so lost. Any suggestions on how to find local farms that sell wherever we go? Just punch it in the internet?
    So far we’re relying on the farmer’s markets and the tiny GA supermarkets like Harvey’s, IGA and Piggy Wiggly I’ve been told have their own butchers. I can only vouch for Harvey’s but I was thrilled to see their chicken was local and there was a butcher in the back. I waved at him. 🙂
    Buying from the farm though would cut out the middle man….

  15. Pingback: Don’t throw it in the trash! | Attempting zero waste lifestyle in a military household

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