Vacation Recycling Confession

As many families do, my family recently migrated south for a week in the sun.  This time we headed to the pristine beaches of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Just imagine beautiful white sand, gorgeous sunsets, and clear blue water.  There are miles and miles of condominium buildings lining the coast.  We stayed at an older condominium building (you get what you pay for!) and were dismayed to find out that there was no on-site recycling.  When my husband stopped by the building’s management office he was told the following:  “While the City of Myrtle Beach does not provide collection services, condominium residents are welcome to use any of the City’s Convenience Centers for their recycling needs”.   Unfortunately, the convenience centers were not that convenient and we ended up throwing recyclables in the trash.  It made me wonder though, if this was a common practice for multi-family residences back home in Illinois.

When I returned from vacation, I checked out the SWALCO website. According to its website, “People who live in apartments, condominiums or town-homes should contact their property management or association to establish recycling services.”  Unfortunately, I think that this is a missed opportunity.  Recycling should be easy.  Asking residents or vacationers to drive a recycling facility is not always practical.

Anyways, the trip did make me think of how to be environmentally conscious on a vacation.  Here are the tips that I came up with:

  1. Carry a reusable water bottle with you.  This will cut down on convenience purchases and trash.
  2. Limit meals that involve carry out containers.  We grocery shopped once we got to our location and not only saved money but reduced the amount of garbage added to the landfill.
  3. We had the car’s oil changed before we left, hopefully improving the car’s performance on the road.  I was actually surprised at how little gas we used.
  4. Anytime you see a recycling center use it.  Rest stops seemed to frequently have a place to dispose of recyclables.
  5. Run the air conditioning as needed both in the condo and in the car.  We took advantage of the ocean breeze and kept the windows open.
  6. Use towels wisely.  We changed out the towels only once.

With a little planning, it is possible to care for the environment even while you are on vacation.