Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buy a recycled steel garbage can (Change 95)

Three basic tenets are drilled into every child's head these days - Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.  Most people are good at the recycle part, and we as a society are starting to show a wealth of recycled and recyclable products.  In order to keep the recycling process going, we must start to purchase products made from recycled materials.

I decided to purchase a recycled steel garbage can.  As I've mentioned in earlier posts, I love birds and have several feeders that I keep filled throughout the year.  I've been storing my sunflower seeds in a plastic garbage can until quite recently, when the mice discovered it.

We've had issues with mice in our house since we moved in.  We set traps and kill an astonishing number of critters in the course of the winter.  I've occasionally found a dead mouse in the empty bird seed pail, but fortunately, never in a full one.

Over the last month, though, there have been signs the mice have discovered my stash of seed, and are helping themselves to the buffet.  Empty shells are littering the shed floor, and are found in the strangest places.  I wasn't able to figure out how they are getting into the pail.  There were no obvious signs of chewing, the lid was on securely, and I wasn't leaving seed lying around.  Then I moved the pail to a new location.  Seed streamed out of the bottom of the pail, where some clever little mouse had decided to chew through the bottom of the pail to get at the seed.

Hence, the steel garbage can.   See this interesting fact sheet from the Steel Framing Alliance for more information on how steel is a "green" material.  (http://www.steel.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Gulf_Coast_Steel_Initiative1&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=13078) and from the Geological Association of Canada http://www.gac.ca/PopularGeoscience/factsheets/Metals_e.pdf.  The GAC fact sheet states that "Every tonne of steel recycled saves 1100 kg of iron ore, 650 kg of coal, and 55 kg of limestone".
I opted for recycled steel, as it was only a few dollars more, and it helps reinforce the recycling life cycle. The mice will no longer be getting a free meal and I've voted with my pocketbook to keep municipal, provincial and federal recycling programs going.


  1. yes, I should be more mindful and look for recycled products first. gulp...thanks for the reminder.

  2. I was lucky that this can was available next to the regular ones. I have to admit, I'm not sure I would have deliberately sought out a recycled one, otherwise.