Being from New Jersey, I must admit that I am often guilty of indulging in friendly competition with my friends from New York. It’s more tradition than any real rivalry between us because I love New York, especially NYC.

I mean what’s not to love about the Big Apple. People rushing to their destinations like their life depended on it…the upscale fashion and jewelry stores at Fifth Avenue…Wall Street skyscrapers…Central Park…Museum of Art…friendly food cart guys… NYC is addictive in so many different ways it’s hard to keep count.

But there’s so much more to the state of New York than NYC and I was lucky enough to find one such treasure recently. Tucked away in the Herkimer County in central New York is the charming little town of Frankfort. With a population of less than 10,000 people, the town is a haven of peace and quiet that city dwellers are just not used to.

However, it wasn’t the peace and quiet or the quaint charm of the small town that fascinated me. What fascinated me and appealed to the environmentalist in me was how clued in this little town was to recycling and trash management.

The Recycling Story

And Then There Was Recycling…

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming that every household in Frankfort looked equally committed to recycling. There’s no way for me to know that even though the town barely has about 3,000 households.

But the family I visited was definitely among the more environmentally evolved ones and I must say that a lot of credit for that goes to the Frankfort and Herkimer County administration. You see, the county administration has made it easier for its residents to recycle by introducing single-stream recycling.

So, what you see are not separate trash bins for different types of recyclables. The residents of Frankfort and Herkimer County are allowed to mix together all paper, glass, metal, and plastic recyclables in one container. They don’t even have to be placed in a bag – just need to be tossed into this one big recycling container with a lid.

Called the Recycle One and Done program, the family we visited in Frankfort told us it changed the way they recycled. What used to be a chore earlier became a convenient and definitely more affordable activity with this program. They also told us that the plan was simple enough for more and more families to start adopting recycling as a lifestyle choice.

When Scrap Stops Being Crap…

Needless to say I was pleased as a punch to see how seriously this small town in the heart of New York took it’s recycling. Little did I know there was more happy stuff coming my way! While driving through Frankfort, our hosts pointed to us a SIMS Metal Management recycling facility.

I, of course, recognized it from back home in Camden and was quite pleased to note that our environment friendly and financially wise friends often sold their metal scrap, e-waste, as well as old and discarded white goods to them just like we do.

But the Frankfort recycling story did not end there. Like the proverbial icing on the cake, I watched in complete ecstasy as my host pulled out a reusable shopping bag to bring back her groceries from the supermarket and consciously looked for recycled goods to complete the recycling loop.

These are the small things that make a big difference, in my humble opinion. Even though the town of Frankfort does not represent much in terms of numbers, I think it’s making itself count by having such a robust recycling program – one that makes it easier for its residents to fulfill their moral obligation to recycle quite conveniently.

I came back from this small New York town filled with joy and happy memories. If every little town in every part of America recycled like this, we’re well and truly on the right path.