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side to side we protest now tell it to your face
basically had the day off in Amarillo, TX; I got here yesterday evening and my load isn't ready until late tonight. I haven't been idle, though. I spent nearly 5 hours catching up various paperwork that had been piling up. This afternoon, I dropped the trailer and went to a walk-in clinic to take care of my syphilis D.O.T. physical. While I was out, I also decided to do some grocery shopping and locate a recycling center.

As you might imagine, the trucking industry is a remarkably wasteful one. In addition to the petroleum the trucks drink like water and spews the exhaust into the atmosphere, there's all of the take-out/pre-packaged food. What's worse is that there is zero recycling effort put forth by any of the truck stops and seldom at state rest areas. It's always bothered me a lot because, despite my profession, I've always tried to be a reasonably green person. I recycle at home and am conscious of energy use. I decided since I had the extra space in the truck now that I'm no longer training, to attempt my own recycling program on the road. I began it with my last departure from home a little over three weeks ago. I brought with me a large plastic storage bin and placed it in front of the passenger seat, with the intention of using it to collect aluminum and paper, my two biggest waste categories. To cut down on the use of plastic bottles, I keep an empty 1 liter soda bottle and transfer the liquid of 12oz cans chilled in my cooler to it, then crush the cans and throw them in the recycling bin. It's not only greener, but cheaper. When the bottle starts to get a little on the nasty side, I buy a new one.

I filled it in three weeks, though, which under optimum circumstances wouldn't be an issue since I don't usually like to be on the road longer than that, and I could simply empty it when I return home. But I'm on a month-long road trip at the moment and it was beginning to over flow, but I was able to empty it today. I should be good until I get back home the first weekend in September.

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Recycling?.... You've gone hippy on us now?

I've always been a recycler. I don't typically go to great lengths to recycle things, but I make an honest effort.

One of truckstop chains has Popey's in a lot of their locations. It's a nice break from the typical burger fair I deal with.

I don't know what I'd eat if I were on the road that much...probably a lot of Cracker B. and Waffle House....

I would probably also have a shitload of fruit and jerky in the cab of the truck at all times...and possibly cheese in a can.

The problem with Waffle House and Cracker Barrel is that they don't offer parking for truckers. Well, some WHs do, but you have no way of knowing which ones do until you stumble across one.

I keep stuff in the truck fro snacking and making cold sandwiches. I have a thermoelectric cooler for keeping things cold in the truck.

I was gonna ask that...if you had any type of cooler...cooler...computer...music...man can survive on that for a while....

I have a 40qt cooler that has a small electric heat pump on it. It will chill things to about 30-40 degrees below ambient temperature.

My husband and I don't have any room for that and I'm always upset they don't have recycling at truck stops too.
I think that's a good idea to start suggesting.

I think it'd be a great project for someone with the time and energy to pursue it; to convince the big three truckstop chains to offer recycling collection bins.

Knowing the general population of truckers, though, I wonder how successful it would be.
We can't seem to stop the jerks that throw out pee bottles.

I think that if truckstops offered at least a plastic recycle bin in each bay on the fuel island for collecting the hundreds of plastic bottles used there on a daily basis from oil, windshield washer fluid, diesel treatment, etc. would be a great start. Additionally, a dumpster each for aluminum and paper on the property would be nice.

I say, don't underestimate the changing class of the American trucker. Sure, there are still a lot of those old-school baby-boomer truckers around... but that's changing. As an example of what I'm talking about, look at how the truck stops all started offering "premium" coffee blends in the past couple of years. I think if the bins were offered, they'd get used.

Another thing is that, since the truckstop stands to profit from the resale of the recycled materials, they could offer a kickback to the driver as an incentive. For example: let's say TA instituted a recycling program. They could issue their own container for drivers to use with a nominal deposit. When drivers returned it brimming with recyclable materials, they get points added to their loyalty cards and a new, clean bin.

Plus, I think it'd be great for the small towns that some of these truck stops operate in: they could provide a valuable service for a community that may not have any other viable recycling program. With the right publicity, it could potentially bring a lot of new customers to the property. "I'm going to drop the kids at school, drop the recycling at the truckstop and fill-up the mini-van while I'm there."

You may be right. We older drivers are starting to burn out and leave and the next generation truly are more aware of earth's issues. Can I friend you? I don't think I have any truckers on my f-list.

Add away. I actually have quite a few truckers and former truckers lurking around here. You may find some other folks over time that interest you as well.

Thanks. Our industry is hard for outsiders to "get" and it would be good to be able to have people "get" me.

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Yes, I have seen those from time to time, but not with enough frequency to be of much use to me. The Wal-Mart in Welf's hometown has one, actually. If I knew that every Wal-Mart had one that'd be great, but the hassle of pulling my truck in off the highway for a really big maybe isn't worth it.

Edited at 2008-08-20 02:52 pm (UTC)

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Really? I'd think a major market like Minneapolis would have weekly collection. I live in a city of 30k and we have weekly curbside pickup.

Off topic, did you try to audio IM me the other night? I blank window opened up with your screen name in it the other night but nothing happened.

At least you're trying. Trucking might have inherent resource-saving aspects:
My commute / gas consumption involves about 10 miles every week of driving to get to the truck.
I wonder if I use fewer resources than I would sitting (and driving around) the heated / A/C house instead of making sandwiches in the truck's condo for two weeks?

I keep Michigan Returnables (10¢ each!) in one of my KW's tool cubbies. Pain in the ass, because it has no access from inside the cab (unlike with Volvos or Freightliners).

True, there are inherent energy-saving aspects about trucking. A lot of the creature comforts of daily living are residual energy from the moving truck.

You know what I think is a missed opportunity in our business, especially in this age of rising fuel costs. I'm surprised that at least one of the motel chains haven't figured out that if they offered truck parking across the board, and setup a system by which drivers could take their break in one of their rooms, maybe doubled up with another driver at a reduced rate (say sub-$20), just to have a bed and a shower for 10 hours, they could make a killing. For $15, you get a room which you might have to share with another driver for no more than 12 hours. They could flip it once in a 24 hour period and make $60 per room daily while providing a much needed service to our industry. Maybe it'd make a great up-start motel chain: Truck Inn!

I'm guessing you would be hesitant to stop on your way through, particularly when your on the worst stretch of I35 there is, but between 8th and 9th street in Austin, Texas, there's a big recycling place you can drop of pretty much anything thats possibly recyclable, it's on the west side of the highway on the I-35 frontage. Just a thought, if your driving through laden down with recyclables to unload.

Man you got that right, the stretch of I-35 between DFW and San Antonio is my least favorite stretch of interstate in the country.

You might want to invest in a proper drink container made from hardier plastic or stainless steel. Generic plastic bottles that come sold with soda aren't built to last, and begin leeching chemicals into your drink when reused too much, especially in hot weather.

I applaud your efforts to conserve! I need to be greener myself.

You do know that article you linked actually debunks that, right? ;-)

The main reason I reuse drink bottles is because I'm too lazy to deal with continually washing-out my own bottle.

Holy shit.

I pwned myself. How embarrassing.

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