Good article in the New York Times today about Seattle’s successes—and aspirations—in the world of recycling. Notably, recycling food scraps will become mandatory by 2009 as the city strives for a 60 percent recycling rate by 2012—and 72 percent by 2025.

If the article missed anything, it’s that recycling isn’t just a waste management technique here. It’s actually embedded pretty deeply in the self identity of Seattleites (and Northwesterners generally). So much so, in fact, that local insurance company Pemco has a TV ad gently poking fun at our obsessive compulsive ways. (Click “view the ads” in the upper right corner.) It never fails to crack me up.

So what’s interesting is not that Seattle’s recycling rate is high; it’s that the practice is integral to our lifestyles. In a way, it’s a major triumph of social marketing. And it makes me wonder how other positive behaviors can be similarly encouraged. Carless-ness, anyone?

I totally stole the title of this post from Tim Croll at Seattle Public Utilities.