I am pretty sure my family thought I was a little crazy after I came back from spending six weeks in Italy. I would be lying if I did not admit it myself: I had changed a bit. Maybe a lot. Well, it’s all relative!

            After returning from Italy, I was in a recycling mania. In Florence, there is a large initiative to reduce, reuse, and recycle. To reduce, major grocery stores like Conad charge customers for plastic bags. Thus, most shoppers resort to reusing a grocery tote to carry their items home. In addition, the city requires that waste be disposed in separate bins. One bin is for organic waste, another for multi-material (ex: plastic, paper, and glass), and a third bin is for residual waste. Thus, residents separate their waste into three categories to dispose of them in the appropriate manner.

            When I learned about the disposal system in Florence, I was excited! I had heard about the mountains of plastic polluting our oceans. Now, I had a chance to do my part in protecting the environment. Thus, I became meticulous about every piece of paper, plastic, glass, and organic item that I could recycle. Naturally, when I returned to the United States, I wanted to continue this momentum and lead by example. Thus, I made sure to have three separate containers for recycling at home. My parents warned me that I could not recycle everything, but I decided to try anyway. After a few weeks, my family got a notice from Waste Management that there were items in our recycling bins that were not recyclable. Turns out, I got too excited about recycling that I had even tried to recycle the plastic bags containing the recyclables!

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