Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Recycling Rant

I have a lot of opinions relating to waste and recycling. I really don't feel like everyone is willing to do their part. I have been trying to convince my friends and family that it isn't that hard to recycle and reduce their waste, but it seems that my attempts are futile. Even my mother, who taught me the importance of caring for the planet, still has a hard time driving up to drop off her wastes, because it is just so much easier to just let the haulers take it away each Thursday, and shove it into the dump with their front end loaders.

There has got to be a point where everyone realizes the impact that just one household can make on landfills, pollution and just wastefulness in general. I sometimes wonder what people are thinking in a consumer oriented world, where everything is disposable. We have a hard time looking past our what is just our laziness stopping us from taking cans to recycle. And most people that do recycle only recycle what will give them money in return. It is funny that they don't feel responsible to recycle glass and plastic when there is no return deposit.

It also dismays me that most trash haulers, (here in Missouri they are required to) offer recycling curbside, but only allow certain recyclables, even though many are very easy to auto sort. In my locale, they allow only plastics #1 and #2. two colors of glass, which they did not specify the colors, and paper products. Specifically newspaper and corrugated cardboard. No mixed textiles, no paper board.

So I haul my own items to recycle, so that more of my waste is able to be reused, and I avoid Styrofoam, which cannot be recycled at all, outside of the UPS store will allow you to bring in packing peanuts. It is rather ridiculous. You would think that the income that recycling produces for refuse companies that they might want to allow more items to be taken curbside and avoid the landfill for a while longer. It is a disgusting proposition that humans have resorted to bury their trash. Who thought that up? And since DuPont and whomever else turns such a lovely profit, plastic and non bio-degradable materials are more common in packaging than anything organic, or earth friendly. Everything is for our laziness and it is all buried for future generations to uncover how unsafe and unsanitary it is to live life in such lazy ways.

A while back I stopped to think about plastics, and what they really mean to me. If I were to give up using plastic altogether, how would that affect my life? Well, for one, I wouldn't be writing this now, because the majority of my laptop is made of plastic. (thanks HP!) My gallon of milk in the fridge, my tub of butter, my bottle of shampoo...everything I use daily is contained in plastic. So for me, the only option is to recycle every bit of it that comes through my house, because living without it does not seem possible in today's world. But what about the rest of my community? When I visit the recycling center, I usually see only older people. People who probably are too old to use a computer, and read this blog. Too old fashioned to realize that the rest of the world quit caring about "saving" and not wasting long ago. But I would be willing to bet that they are likely a product of the Great Depression and it is ingrained in them to be frugal. Waste not, Want not. Where is my generation and my parent's generation. Shouldn't all those Baby Boomers feel the pressure to be green?

Here is what I think...you tell me how you feel if you like. I think that Recycling should be law. I think that it should be free, and accessible. I think that the county should recycle anything that is marked for recycling and the trash haulers should have to pick it all up, not just the easiest and most useful types for their industry. I think that all packaging should be recyclable, and marked as such, and the law should mandate that. I think that all schools, and businesses should have to recycle, because they contribute to the waste stream in huge amounts. ( I know SPS recycles paper and cardboard and possibly aluminum). But I think that we should take the initiative and EVERYONE IN THE US SHOULD BE REQUIRED BY LAW TO REDUCE THEIR WASTE AND RECYCLE!!!!!

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