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Proper Green: Marriage and Recycling

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Proper Green is a blog about good manners in a green world. Today's topic: how to get your significant other to share your green values.
I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~Rita Rudner

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Dear Proper Green:

My husband refuses to recycle. He’ll drink a beer and then throw the can into the garbage, even though the recycling bin is RIGHT BESIDE THE GARBAGE CAN!!! Recycling is very important to me, and I’ve made it as easy as I can for him to join in, but he won’t. What can I do?

Dear Reader :

Well, You’ve obviously tried the compromise route, so you are left with two choices. You can pick cans out of the garbage to put into the recycling bin (and grumble under your breath about how irritating it is to do so) or you can have a fight with your husband about recycling. I wish I had a better answer for you, but anyone who has been married for more than 10 seconds knows I speak the truth. I’m not saying that a fight with your mate about recycling is the wrong thing to do, mind you, but it is up to you to decided how important this issue is to you. In all relationships, it is necessary to pick your battles. Some battles you simply can’t win with your mate. If you think your hubby will change if he knows how much it bothers you, then it might be worth the argument. If it won’t change his behavior, well...

Please send inquires to: Questions may be edited for length and clarity.

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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more

  • Sharon B. 4 years ago
    There is always the CONE OF SHAME .....
  • Bradley B. 5 years ago
    Husband Reward Program. Before introducing the scheme, ask a husband about some fun outside activities he'd like to do with you or reasonable entertainment requests. Set a simple goal for him at first that allows for accidents (oops) & reward him accordingly. Make it fun & you'll both enjoy the relationship building benefits. Perhaps he can set-up a return challenge for you or one both can work together on.
  • Barbara F. 5 years ago
    Glad my husband is already on board with recycling!
  • Cynthia L. 5 years ago
    Sounds like he is "testing the boundaries" so to speak, and it is not really over recycling...I have beem married for 38 years. A life long relationship is about compromise and respect. They both have some "issues" to work out together. Best to both of them!
  • Rebecca R. 5 years ago
    I think a better question to pose is why would one refuse to do something as simple as toss a can in a recycling bin instead of the trash when it's that important to their partner? Sounds like he has some kind of personal problem.
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