No need to trash the place

We’re lucky around here when it comes to convenient recycling and the resources go far beyond the weekly home recycling. We just need to know where to take the items that don’t belong in our bins at home.

For example, we know what to do about those plastic grocery bags — just take them back to the store and put them into the containers the stores provide and they’ll be recycled. But what do you do about those plastic rings that hold six-packs of sodas and beers or the plastic packaging for paper towels, toilet tissue, greeting cards, dry cleaning and other things that come steadily into our homes?

There is a place about 10 minutes from Alameda called Super Link Plastic that will take them. Super Link is located at 888 92nd Ave. in Oakland.

An even closer recycling facility called Universal Waste Management, Inc., at 721 37th Ave. in Oakland, near Home Depot, is a great spot to drop off, at no charge, all things computer. They accept monitors computers, home-office electronics, TVs and even cell phones.

There are facilities not far from Alameda (and some in Alameda) that recycle more items than most of us probably ever considered, from including non-working appliances, art materials, cd’s, videotapes, DVDs, records, brick, porcelain, batteries, empty propane bottles, bicycles, carpet and padding, polyurethane foam, buckets and barrels, building materials and construction debris, fabric remnants, fluorescent lamps, eyeglasses, hearing aids, windows and medications.

And that is only part of the list.

The more we know about these facilities the more we contribute to a healthier Earth. According to StopWaste.Org, in 1990 recycling diverted 12 percent of waste from Alameda County landfills. By 2006 that diversion rose to 61 percent, equaling 2.3 million tons of trash that went to better uses than sitting under a pile of dirt. The goal is to reach 75 percent by 2010.

For a free recycling guide, go to www.stopwaste.org/home/index.asp, or drop by 2307 B Blanding Ave. (and bring your dead batteries and fluorescent bulbs to recycle).  It’s eye-opening and refreshing to learn how many items need not end up in the trash can, particularly when it takes so long for trash to decompose (and some never decomposes completely).

Longtime residents will remember Alameda’s own trash dump. It’s now a pleasant small hill where bicyclists, runners and walkers can enjoy a little exercise and a nice view. We used to call it Mt. Trashmore, that hill (possibly the only hill in town) perched near the Bay Farm Island Bridge. We don’t need it anymore and with just a little bit of knowledge and an occasional trip to our recycling facilities, the time may come when trash dumps contain nothing but organic materials that feed, rather than just fill, the land.