Louisiana Crawfish Boil – The Habit to Recycle Evolves

Our cooks emptying 2 of the 10 thirty pound bags of crawfish into the boiler.

A few weeks ago we spent a weekend in Louisiana.  We have family who live in a small city (population ~ 25,000) and for the past dozen or so years, our relatives have hosted a crawfish boil where local and distant family and friends reunite to celebrate the winner of our “Family Hoops Braggin’ Rights” NCAA basketball bracket.  It is also a wonderful opportunity to celebrate other special events (e.g., graduations, engagements, and meet-and-greet new additions to the family).  This year there were almost 50 people attending and 300 pounds of crawfish were boiled with just a few pounds left over.  If you’ve never had boiled crawfish, I encourage you to add them to your list.

Moving the 300 pounds of crawfish from the boiling water into the adjacent tank.
Our Custom Labeled Recycle Can

In the course of an afternoon, we generated a lot of soda cans, water bottles, and a few glass beer bottles.  Like in many small cities, recycling is not yet the norm; bottles and cans are typically added to the other trash and hauled away to land fills.  For this year’s crawfish boil, we decided to collect the bottles, cans, and plastic cups in a “custom labeled” garbage bin, and deliver it to a recycling location.

Often recycling efforts evolve over the years as communities build the necessary infrastructure, and as the awareness of the importance to recycle grows.  This has been our experience in several cities.  My initial awareness to recycle was from a work colleague who had a box under his desk where he would accumulate discarded paper, and later take it to the company mail room where paper was shredded and recycled.  Later paper recycling bins began to appear around the office and people began to use them.  Same for our home recycling efforts.  Initially, community centers were established where we could bring our sorted recycle products for processing.  And later, curbside pickup became the norm. 

Many small cities have recycling options available but awareness is limited.  The opportunity is there but often individuals must take the initiative to make it happen.  At this year’s crawfish boil, we accumulated a 55-gallon bag full of recycles and brought them back to Houston for recycling.  Subsequently I learned there was a recycling center in town; next year we’ll take advantage of that local site.  Awareness is key! 

Occasionally I’ve not gone the extra step in taking advantage of recycling options.  We recently spend a weekend in Savanna, Georgia, a beautiful quaint city.  We stayed at an Airbnb and, seeing no recycle bins or instructions, I assumed that recycling wasn’t an option.  On our last day there, as I took our garbage bag to the alley behind our unit, I noticed a recycling bin that we could have used if only I was aware of it.  At that point, our time being limited, I couldn’t sort our trash so we simply put everything in the garbage.  Next time I plan to investigate recycling options before assuming they aren’t available.  Also, in our feedback to the Airbnb, I plan to suggest they add recycling information to their instructions as well as a recycling bin in the unit.

Recycle Bin At Minute Maid

Recycling efforts are growing in other areas where it previously didn’t occur – for example baseball parks.  Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, now has recycling bins throughout the stadium.  Many movie theaters also now have disposal areas at the exits to the theaters.  Numerous examples of businesses that have partnered with recycling companies are popping up.  TerraCycle is a leader in recycling materials such as disposable cups, and single-serve coffee capsules through their Zero Waste Boxes – materials that are not typically recycled. In 2018, Subaru announced their partnership with TerraCycle to make Zero Waste Boxes available at all Subaru retail dealers and since that time, have diverted 500,000 pounds of waste (equivalent to about 150 Subaru vehicles) from landfills. 

Subaru’s Zero Waste Boxes

The habit to recycle evolves.  Once it is part of your routine, it seems awkward to not recycle.  Perhaps one day it will be so normal that it’s not even called recycling, it’s just normal and what everyone does.  I’m continuing to learn and I remain encouraged as I see our society doing more to recycle.  I would enjoy receiving any comments about how your recycling efforts are evolving. {Add your comments below to the “Leave A Reply”.}

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