CSRwire’s Francesca Rheannon goes to the Hamptons to recycle.
Recycling isn’t just for us commoners. The celebrity playground East Hampton, NY (think Jerry Seinfeld, Stephen Spielberg, Puff Daddy) is home to the one of the snazziest recycling centers you’ve ever seen.
It’s a place where rich, poor and in-between love to go to sling their bottles, cans, and papers. Sleek Mercedes and Beemers jostle with beat-up pickup trucks to belly up to the long green and tan shed. Each vehicle takes its place in front of portals leading within to dumpsters waiting to be filled. Whether tanned and tennis-suited or clad in dusty coveralls, the residents of this tony resort start hauling their stuff out of their cars with undisguised glee.
The ritual begins. Sort, tote and toss: glass, plastic & cans, newspapers, cardboard, “junk mail” (other paper), and, finally, the leftovers into “non-recyclables”. There’s even a corner dedicated to batteries and used oil and a place outside to put yesteryear’s electronics.
And on Saturdays, the highlight of the week: the “take it or leave it” shed is open for business! It’s redistribution of the wealth sans political battles or ideological posturing. Those burdened with too much bring their excess, while those who are scrambling to get by in the high-priced Hamptons milieu (and there are plenty of those around, too) find a cornucopia of goods, from the merely useful to the luxurious. The last time I went I found a perfect art table for my six year old granddaughter and a beautiful potted artificial (but tasteful) bamboo plant that now adorns my front entrance.
And, speaking of my granddaughter (you couldn’t stop me if you tried!), the East Hampton Recycling Center is her favorite place to go. Even the beach comes second. She can throw glass into the bin to her heart’s content (with a satisfying crash,) without fear of a scolding. Sorting the trash is a game. And when we’re done, she knows she’s done something to help the planet. Few things are such fun while being virtuous, as well!
Using the recycling center is deeply satisfying: the demanding regime of sort, tote and toss commands engagement, reminding us to be conscious of our trash and what happens to it. And it’s one of the few places in the Hamptons where people of all levels of wealth and fame come together as equals to help safeguard the Earth.
Francesca Rheannon writes for CSRwire and is editorial manager of the CSRwire blog Talkback. She also hosts and produces the weekly radio show and podcast, Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, which often features authors who write about green issues.