February 12, 2013

Cat Tales: Clementine is a darling of a car

By Carol Mills
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — She hauls Christmas trees.

She hauls doors, air conditioners, and furniture.

She also hauls bottles, cans, paper, and cardboard.

Every few months I take my recyclables to the London Regional Recycling Center in my spare car, which I call my recycle car because that’s mostly what I use it for. I have also driven Clementine to work a few times when my red Mustang was in the repair shop.

Clementine is the name I’ve given to a white 1985 Toyota Celica that my father used to drive. She only has 68,234 miles on her. Over the years I’ve had several offers to buy the car, but it runs good and I don’t want to sell it. One person wanted to buy it because he drove one just like it in college. I’ve had to buy a few pro-rated batteries, a new muffler, and a set of new tires. In the future, I may make an antique car out of her. People say you can’t kill a Toyota and I’m starting to believe that. Clementine is pushing 30 and is still running good. I picked the name Clementine because she’s old and that’s an old timey name.

I started to recycle a little bit several years ago but I did not go all out because there wasn’t any place to take it. The recycling center on Substation Road was usually full. When the new recycling center on TLC Lane was built in 2007, I started to save more containers. To do this, I had to buy a couple more big, 45 gallon trash cans. A few years ago when my garbage company left a big, 96 gallon trash can in my yard for me to use, that freed up two more trash cans.

There are currently six cans on my carport. The 96 gallon one is for the trash I don’t recycle, such as kitty litter. Two of them have bird feed in them and three have recyclables.

I first started collecting plastic and glass bottles and cans. I was already giving aluminum cans to my mow man. Later on, I started collecting newspapers, magazines and cardboard. I throw the plastic bottles in one trash can, store the aluminum cans in another trash can, and throw everything else in another trash can. When the cans get full, I sort everything out and put them in large, black trash bags. I pack the car with the trash bags and boxes until it is full. All this sorting takes a lot of time and I like to do it on a day when the weather is mild. I take my blown-out LED light bulbs to Lowe’s Home Improvement where they have a bin for them, as well as rechargeable batteries and plastic bags.

People using the recycling center told me I really store up my recyclables. I laugh and tell them I have a recycle car. In fact, I’m using a recycled car to recycle. I have seen several city council members, such as Jim Hays and Nancy Vaughn, and other friends of mine at the center.

Since my garbage company doesn’t have much stuff to haul off now, you would think my bill would go down, but it doesn’t. The garbage trucks still have to make their rounds.

I don’t have any scraps of food or leftovers to fill up the garbage company’s can because I compost and feed hungry critters. I don’t need a garbage disposal in my kitchen.

I put uncooked produce, egg shells, coffee grinds, paper towel rolls, leaves, grass clippings, yard work debris, and flower pot soil into a big round bin I made with wire and stakes that is about four feet in diameter. I keep a pail in the kitchen, like a slop bucket, and throw the household scraps into it. When I need to fertilize my garden, I dig under the wire of the bin with a shovel and scoop out whatever I need.

The critters get any leftover food. I put the food in a heavy dog pan and set it outside for my pet raccoon, George Cooney, and if he doesn’t eat it, some other critter will because it’s all gone before morning. A couple of my co-workers also bring me stale food, such as bread, chips, and cereal. George is a scavenger and will eat almost everything. The only food the critters don’t care for is beans.