The Great Recycle Debacle


the great recycle debacleOh, the great recycle debacle. My 10-year-old wants to recycle. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to. I am not opposed to recycling; I just honestly don’t really know what I am doing concerning what to recycle and how to recycle. So, we started, and I was shocked as to how much we have in our house that can be recycled.

It started with a bag hung on our pantry door, and that was not going to be able to handle all of the recycled material. Then, we started filling trash bags and then filling boxes in the garage. Not just one box, but plural “boxes”, and many of them.

I’m really no good at this, and the kicker came when my son started going through the trash realizing that I was “missing” so many opportunities to recycle. It is hard to keep remembering what goes where, and I admit, I was letting those opportunities to recycle pass me by.

Then, an assignment came home from school – one where we had to go through our house and find items that could be recycled and find what category they went in and then how to dispose of them and where to take them to be recycled.

This was like a part-time job, and my 10-year-old did not think I was taking this recycling project seriously enough. I decided to put him in charge of taking the recycling to the garage and helping me sort what should and could be recycled. Turns out, this project is hard for a 10-year-old brain, too.

We’ve now got a garage full of all of the things you can recycle, and we have gotten ourselves into a recycle debacle.

We can’t stop now; we are literally knee-deep in recylables and see no way out. We are in it for the long haul and want to help our planet and save the trees and reuse, reduce, and recycle.

I’ve been Googling the best way to manage this debacle and turns out, I’m not alone. This is hard work, and I probably should have started out small, rather than saving everything all at once with no organization and plan, so now we have one.

One plastic at a time, recycle bins, and a place to take them.

Debacle turned recycling success.

Do you and your family recycle? What are some of your tips for how to make helping the planet more manageable?

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Cheryl Brackemyre
I am a Buckeye by birth, but LOVE Louisville. We have cheered for those Louisville Cardinals for a few years when my stepdaughter played basketball in Louisville and fell in love with the city! I live in Ohio with my husband Tony. Together we have 6 kids, Joe, and his wife Allison, Austin, and his wife Hannah, Sydney and her husband Hayden, Andrew and his wife Lauren and our littles, Max and Eli. Did I mention we are a little nuts starting over with this parenting thing when we are 45+? We are officially a Tiki and Jeep (our version of Grandma and Grandpa) since May of 2022 and have 2 grandsons with a 3rd on the. My husband and I are both ministers, and we get to work together in a local church. We were both married before and brought our families together in 2010. After a few years of marriage, we felt God's leading for us to adopt. We added Max to our family in 2014 and Eli joined us in 2017, our quiver is officially full! Blending our family has been an adventure! Add some ex-spouses and two birth mommas and we have ourselves a crazy crew! Coffee is my love language. The beach is my happy place and I long to have my toes in the sand.


  1. I have read and I agree that the priority should be in that order –reuse things that can be repurposed so you are not buying other items that could also turn into trash. Reduce –find ways to stop using items that create waste. Recycle is the last because honestly most things that go in the bin end up getting tossed because there’s no market for recycling and using recycled materials for other things.

  2. I love the fact that your son and you are doing all you can to reduce, reuse or recycle (or some other iteration of the Waste Management Hierarchy /Pyramid). As a leader within our city Eco group, I understand that this is a relentless task, and sometimes am frustrated that onward market sources for disposal are not always available, so not everything which is technically recyclable, IS recycled by our county’s solid waste services. However, by leaning in to your son’s wonderful enthusiasm of ‘doing the right thing’, you are an excellent example to him, and you both are to others. And on that, I would encourage you to join (or start up) your local recycling group, and further use your platform to find ways to increase the range and quantity of items recycled and help educate others to do the same. Also, in our group we have an 11 year old who is an avid composter (we can learn (or relearn) a lot from this aspirational, and inspirational age group). She has been encouraged, and has willingly made a presentation on composting to students both within her own school and a neighboring one. In addition to being a wonderful growth experience for her, she is an inspiration to her peers and helping to pass on the responsible recycling ethos (in composting). Being a transplant from the UK, and playing my part in your native state, I would love to hear more on your progress in our sister state, ‘over the Ohio’.

  3. Good article. Throughout many parts of the country, recyclables ultimately end up going to the landfill. It’s a sad truth that there are not many customers for our trash. Most of it used to go overseas to China and India, but over the last several years they stopped accepting our junk. The director of the Clinton County Recycling division (you may know him well) has assured me anything dropped off in the collection bins in Wilmington, OH will indeed be recycled. I can’t comment on other collection methods throughout the county (Rumpke, Caribou, etc) if they are even offered at all. Cheers and happy recycling!


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