703 miles to “Recycleville”

Myrtle Beach Part II (Scenario: Me. My family. Myrtle Beach vacation. Ungodly amounts of recyclables. No where to take them…no recycling options in sight.)

…So, what did I do?

You guessed ‘er, Chester. I stood in the kitchen of our condo. I crushed cans. I smashed plastic bottles. I tore apart and flattened boxes. I gathered and straightened newspaper. I condensed everything… every last little thing… into the smallest amount of trash bag space possible and…

We drove it home. ALLLL the way back to Cleveland. Alongside beach chairs and boogie boards. Alongside favorite pillows and stuffed animals. Alongside food that never got consumed… in the car. A 703 mile cruise to “Recycleville”.

And honestly…it felt great!

This is the pile that we brought home. Keep in mind that it is smashed and crushed and flattened to extremes (so you don’t see the true volume), but would you take a look at what WOULD HAVE been sent to a landfill if we hadn’t brought it home? It literally FILLED our recycling can. Our 3 foot tall recycling can.

What bothers me the most is not that we had to drive it home(!) but what in the hell is going on in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that a recycling program is not set-up for all of the hundreds upon hundreds of resorts and hotels? How much money floods into that place every year and how pitiful that they offer no options, whatsoever, and have not taken responsibility for even the most fundamental step in environmental consciousness.

Do you know that 14 MILLION PEOPLE visit Myrtle Beach each year?!?!? If they accepted only cans and bottles, can you imagine the volume? If they only offered vacationers a choice. But there are no choices. It’s one, big pit of overconsumption and waste.

I need to do something. What? I’m not yet sure. Contact the Mayor? Contact the head of their Sanitation and Waste Department? Contact the Resort Manager? I just don’t know. But I assure you I’m going to do something. This isn’t going to be the end of the story. I promise.

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27 thoughts on “703 miles to “Recycleville”

  1. Kudos to you for doing the right thing. What’s sad though, is that “most” of the people who were on vacation the same time you were, won’t do the same thing. 🙁
    First thing I look for when I go to a park or restaurant or mall anymore is, “are there recycle bins nearby?”

    Robert Rowes last blog post..iPod Touch for a Musician

  2. Karen – thanks! … and yep, just like you, no matter where I am, if there’s no recycling container, the recycling item is comin’ home!

    Robert – thank you too! And you’re absolutely right. I don’t think too many people would lug it all home. “Looking for the bins” is a great habit. Someday, hopefully, we won’t even have to look for them…they’ll just be everywhere!

  3. Matt – all that harassment for an answer and that’s the only comment I get?!?! Oh sheesh! 🙂 Just kidding! Yes, I am happy that I did it!!! And I have already started to make contact with Myrtle Beach peeps to get some answers!!!

  4. I’m still blown away by how much work you had to do just to recycle your trash. I have a new appreciation for the conservation efforts in the northwest. Recycling has been a priority since the early eighties.

  5. ultraspy – it is shocking, isn’t it?!?! But I couldn’t let my personal commitment go by the wayside just because Myrtle Beach isn’t cooperating! We all just need to do what we can to keep our own little part of the world moving forward in environmental consciousness!

  6. I thought Cleveland was bad, but I guess other parts of the country are just as bad or worse based on our experience in SC. We don’t have an administration that cares about this type of thing, that’s the problem. Private corporations don’t do it either because it’s expensive. What’s the answer? I guess private citizens, already overtaxed, who have a conscience. Pretty sad that’s where we’re at in the USA.

    Jim Kukrals last blog post..Your Grammar & Spelling Is Going To Ruin Your Career

  7. Jim – you got that right, sugar! There are plenty of countries far beyond us in progress. Here in the U.S. there are some regions seriously lacking in progress… as we just found out! But here in the midwest, we are obviously doing a much better job than we thought, when you compare to other parts of the country. We just need to get it together, as a NATION… very, very soon!

  8. This really saddens and frustrates me, but I at least know now that I am not alone in how this makes me feel. I know that all efforts count, no matter how small, so that keeps me going. One way to really feel better about the whole situation is to continue to educate and get the word out that we can all make a difference. I’m going to keep working towards this effort. There’s strength in numbers!!!! Keep it up.

    Lindas last blog post..Olympics-come together

  9. Linda – it’s great to hear the passion in you too! I absolutely agree about the strength in numbers… and we can never give up… full steam ahead! 🙂

  10. I love the blog! I took a look online and it looks like Myrtle Beach does have recycling centers…you’d think they’d offer containers at the resorts. It’s such a simple thing to do–it’s a shame that not everyone thinks about it. It’s sad that I’m always impressed to see public places like airports with recycling bins–you’d think everyone would get on board.

    But baby steps I guess–I remember when it was common for people to chuck trash out car windows on the highway. Hopefully more people will come around.


    Angies last blog post..Outrage

  11. Angie – Thanks! Glad you like it and hope you visit often! And yes, MB definitely has recycling services… as long as you’re a RESIDENT!!! Augh! Completely overlooking all of the vacationers and the massive amounts of trash (much of which could be recycled!) that they are creating. I am still trying to contact them, but they haven’t been very receptive… sadly enough.

  12. Hey Doreen –

    You are SOOO right! I am a mom in MB and while they have “some” recycling for the community it is severely lacking. No home pick-up for the vast majority of the county. Poor recycling stations at local shopping centers and the like…and not to mention the schools and even colleges! I found your blog when I was trying to find more ways to be green living in this area…and suffice to say there are not many. I have just set up my own little recycling center in my garage but will have to find time each week to drive it to one of the few centers each week – wasted gas, anyone? But I suppose that even if every resident (never mind all the tourists and bikers – eek!) just did the minimal amount of recycling, we would have a much different city/county.

    Love your blog!

  13. Hey MB Resident! – So glad you visited! And thanks for so much more insight. It’s even worse than I thought, isn’t it? I really thought you at least had residential pick-up for recycling! That’s the way they made it sound when I called the “waste management” facility that suggested I drive all of my recycling there! I preferred driving it back home because our city recycles so many different items and I wasn’t sure of MBs guidelines. Sounds like they aren’t doing much for residents, tourists,…anyone! I really applaud you for making a conscious effort,especially when you don’t have any support. Keep it up… hopefully things will change someday soon!… and please come and visit my blog anytime! 🙂

  14. Good for you! Some of us torture ourselves over how we can be more responsible while others throw wrappers out the car window. It’s a matter of consciousness and conscience.

  15. All that recyclable aluminum and plastic and not a single greedy salvage man in sight? Is capitalism that dead in the U,.S.? In many parts of Canada we have a deposit system in place on cans and bottles, a a whole fleet of people willing and able to supplement their income this way.

  16. Vic – I couldn’t agree more. It IS a matter of consciousness and conscience. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and I, for one, go to bed each night with a clear conscience.

    Uncle B – that would have been GREAT, but nope…no one to be found! I’m sure there are plenty of people who scavenge through the trash for those things, but I sure didn’t come across anyone!

  17. That’s awesome! My kids and I stayed in Pawleys Island last year. I neurotically saved all forms of recyclables. We found a drop off station online and at the end of the week we dropped(and separated everything into many labeled bins) on the way to the airport. My friend was very glad we found the recycling station because she knows we would have been packing it to bring back to Cleveland!
    Recycling freaks unite!

  18. Tina – Glad you like! 🙂 And bravo to you too for your huge effort! I can’t imagine trying to get THAT package through baggage check!!! And I think we definitely have a new motto: Recycling freaks unite! I love it!

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  21. So how much extra fuel (because of the weight) was used to get this stuff home?

  22. DaiLaughing – quite honestly, very little, if any. When you think about the combined weight of cans, plastic bottles, food boxes & a week of newspaper (we had no glass) it did not equal anything compared to the VOLUME OF TRASH it would have created. My guess is that it was like adding an infant to the car… the benefit of bringing this home FAR out weighted the damage of adding it all to a landfill.

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  24. I worked at one of the resorts in M.B. and was completely overwhelmed by the waste of recyclables. Would like to go out and buy cans to put next to regular garbage cans for at least aluminum products. Even just for the common areas like pools, lobby, parking garage etc.

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