When I tell people that I take a taxi to drop off my recycling, they usually make fun of me, suggesting that 20 minutes in a fume-releasing car cancels out any benefit associated with diverting two giant bags of paper, cans, and plastic and glass bottles from landfill.
Hugo Kimber, the chief executive of The Carbon Consultancy in the UK, confirms that making a special trip doesn't make much sense. So I've been trying to make my recycling outings as value-added as possible. As my preferred location for recycling is on the Corniche at the end of Khaleej al Arabi Street, I've started adding a 35-minute power walk to Marina Mall to the excursion. I have added grocery shopping to the journey, as I can use the same bags that carried the recycling to cart home items from Carrefour.
Last week I stopped briefly at Emirates Post on the way home to mail a letter. If I plot out errands carefully, the recycling trip can become a very handy way to tick them off all at once: at Marina Mall, for example, I can first stop off to pay an Etisalat bill, get my Starbucks fix, go to the pharmacy and get money from the cash machine. Maximising trips in this way is equally effective for people with their own cars.