Recycling Tips: Sometimes, Being Green Starts in Your Roots

Recycling Tips: Sometimes, Being Green Starts in Your Roots

  • Editor’s Note: This article is written by Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland. Got a question or idea for a recycling tip? Contact Jarland at 630-208-3841 or

This article will be a bit more of a blog format than my normal recycling tips and event announcements, because I’m feeling nostalgic. My mother is in town, and I’m thinking of how influential she has been in me becoming who I am today.

Here is my earliest memory of being conscious of the environment and our responsibility to care for it.

I was about 5 years old (in 1976). We were driving down a road in rural Montana, and my Dad threw an empty can out the window. I cried out from the back seat and demanded that they stop the car and go back to pick it up.

I made such a fuss that Mom convinced Dad to turn the car around, and as we crept back along the shoulder looking for that can, they thought we’d never find it again in the long grass. But I knew right where it was and said “stop, it’s there” … and it was! We retrieved the litter that day, and thus began a long life of considerations around littering and waste and recycling.

My mom’s mom lived through the Great Depression, and she saved and reused EVERYTHING — cleaning out her closets we discovered countless coffee cans, which she always had around filled with everything from cookies to nails. Waste not, want not!

Growing up, my mom was always thinking of new ways to reuse things, from always always using both sides of any piece of paper, no matter how small, for notes and lists and creative writing, to reusing containers for leftovers and repurposing little bottles for beads and metal Band-Aid boxes for rubber bands.

Clean your plate! Hand-me-downs rock! Get creative, use everything, make something new out of something old!

From my mom I learned respect for people and for nature. She pointed out the wonders of the world to me and encouraged my curiosity.

Later in life, she taught me how to manage a small business, which served me greatly in my first career in retail management, and she encouraged my later-in-life university degree in environmental stewardship that led me here to Kane County.

That’s the thing, our values and world views are passed on from generation to generation and through our social circles. The awareness of reusing things, of not wasting things and of not trashing the planet came through my ancestors to me, and I share it as much as I can with all of my friends and all of you.

Nuture nature! Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Pass it on!

Save the Date For Jennifer’s Oct. 10 Presentation!

Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland will cover what can and cannot go in your curbside recycling cart, the 2018 sea change in the recycling industry, and the statewide work being done on reducing contamination in recycling streams at a seminar open to the public and set for Oct. 10.

Space is limited!

‘How To Recycle Right’

  • When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10
  • Where: Kane County Government Center, Ground floor Auditorium, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Geneva, IL 60134
  • RSVP: Space is limited. Please RSVP to before Monday Oct. 8, 2018
  • Cost: This program is FREE and refreshments will be served.
  • Questions?: 630-208-3841; see EVENT POSTER for details

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