It's been about a decade since Carol Schneider and her husband last schlepped their recyclables to their country house in Connecticut from their apartment on East 78th Street. "We love recycling. We were great recyclers from the get-go," even before New York had a program, says the transplanted Londoner.
Last week, of course, New York became the first city in the country to considerably scale back on recycling, but the Schneiders aren't about to give in. Like many other New Yorkers, they feel guilty -- downright weird, in fact -- about throwing out beer bottles and OJ containers after years of putting them into tidy blue bags. "This is a huge blow," she says, "and we're actually talking about dragging our bottles up to Connecticut again -- in spite of the fact that we take the train up on Fridays."
"I just couldn't bring myself to throw it in the garbage," says Tzvi Mackson. "It's like, I wanna recycle this stuff." So when he went to Michigan for the holiday, he took a bag of plastics with him. And instead of dragging along laundry when he flew to see his parents in Maryland, 26-year-old rabbinical student Aaron Levy brought his newly nonrecyclables: "I actually thought about whether it'd be better to check it or take it as carry-on," he says. (He chose carry-on.)
But he also came up with a more permanent solution -- he persuaded a classmate who lives in New Jersey to take home his weekly stash. The guy was "a little thrown," says Levy, but then he even offered to take some each day. "He asked a good question, though: 'Are you doing this because you really think the few things that you give to me make a difference, or are you doing this more for symbolic value?' I said, 'Both.' "