The incidental environmental impact of babies

Recycling bins

Hi, my name is Paul… and I’m a recycler.

Nashville, my town, provides curbside recycling once a month. People in the northwest would be shocked to consider once a month only recycling, but that’s the case here.

For most Nashvillians, this probably isn’t an issue especially since we don’t recycle glass in this town, and the recycling bins are 96 gallons and we’re allowed up to two.

We filled both up on the sixth day after recycling pickup. Last month I hauled loads of boxes and bags of recycling to a dropoff point with my Little Brother just so I wasn’t chucking them in the garbage.

Two months ago after filling up two bins in 14 days, and also at the end of new-parent’s first month, we filled up two garbage bins with trash and recycling as well as two recycling bins.

Every product you get for a baby in the mail is another large amount of cardboard, and you’ll be getting them regularly for the first few months at least. The actual diaper-waste per month is probably, at least at the moment, in the range of one small kitchen trash bag.

Anyway, long story, but the point of it is before having a baby, or even right after, if you’re recycling you’re going to need a lot more space than you’d imagine or you’re going to be waste-deep in cardboard and plastic and cans.

Since most of the cardboard is a pain to fit into the recycling bins, you’re going to need to cut it down to size, and any cans you have you’re going to want to crush anything you can just to make more room.

My least favorite Next Generation character was…

As if having a new roommate who leaves their stuff all over the house wasn’t enough of an inconvenience, some places will fine you for chucking out any recycling, and you’re really not going to have much time in the first few months to deal with anything not life-threatening.

So plan ahead, grab more recycling bins if possible. Get a can crusher, and perhaps plan with a friend or neighbor on where you can dispose of excess recycling materials if you’re interested in reducing landfill and managing the environmental impact of babies on your neighborhood.