At one of our zero waste presentations recently, someone brought up the point that many recycling trucks are driving around filled mostly with air: the air that’s trapped in all the tins and plastic bottles.
The image of a truck to driving around with a load of what amounts to mostly empty space is pretty powerful, and that simple comment hit home! I always rinse containers out, and I like to think I’m a superstar recycler, but I’ll admit that I don’t always flatten my cans.
It reminded me of this old Ridge Meadows Recycling campaign where they photographed community members from kids to local firefighters to the Mayor demonstrating how to “do the stomp”.
So here’s my new pledge: I’ll be taking an extra 30 seconds wash and squash the stompables in my recycling bin from now on. Hopefully with us all doing it, our recycling trucks will save one or two extra trips.
PS – I love the detailed stomping photos at the bottom of the image
8 responses to “Trucking Air”
This is so funny. I grew up in a home where we had to crush everything down to make as little garbage as possible. Crushing cans (back when they were made out of steel) was about the only time you could find me wearing shoes as they really hurt the bare feet to stomp on.
This totally brings back memories! Before loading up the bins Calgary we stomped on empty pop cans at my grandparents’ house. I don’t even drink pop, but since I was the “kid” then, they gave me their cans to take care of and I had a blast squishing them down. I confess, I actually forgot about that until now. It’s an element of recycling that I don’t hear about very often. What’s funny is I totally thought it was an old person thing at the time.
in my house, whether its my parents, my brother or me, we always wash and squash containers.
Nice work! Thanks for your comment.
I have a friend who moved to Sweden about 5 years ago… he started squashing an aluminum can and his wife (Swedish), his in-laws and another couple visiting for dinner started screaming “STOP!” – apparently in Sweden, they have these high tech recycling centers that scan cans as you insert them into a collection receptacle – cans and bottles have to go in intact and unsquahed, otherwise they don’t get the deposit back. He was told that it also makes it harder to recycle. Go figure!
2 things: 1 – my aunt and uncle in California (20yrs ago or more) had a can “squisher” with a big handle – you put in the can and lever down the handle – made it much easier shoeless! 🙂 and 2 – I like to do a HIP check on the door frame with my milk Jugs it’s oddly satisfying! 🙂
I love it! Why NOT make it fun?
As a baby of the early 80s. I remember stomping on aluminum cans that my great grandpa drank his beers out of. I would stomp them and put them in a bag. Then, we would go to the recycling center and get money for it. My great grandfather normally would buy me ice cream with it. Never thought about stomping my recycling to save trips! Will start doing that from now on.