My Recycling Bin Is A Temptress

A couple weeks ago my aunt handed me this postcard. She thought I’d appreciate it given my obsession with lecturing the family, and ‘going negative’ at events like kid’s birthday parties when living rooms become seas of clam shell packaging.   It’s a newish compulsion, but I every time I see one of my adorable nieces cuing over a new plastic baby doll I immediately picture it all gross and beaten up floating in the middle of the ocean. It certainly does dampen the moment.

But while I may feel compelled to lecture those around me, the hard truth is I don’t feel that my consumption has gone down all that much either. The difference is now, I recycle everything. But it’s like an act of blind faith, as I have grave doubts that most of it does not actually end up in a landfill.  It seems to me that other then organic waste just about EVERYTHING is recyclable.  I’m nostalgic for the days when we had the separate bins, one for paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum. At least then I had some faith. Now, in my area we just get one big ol’ bin. Sometimes I look in there and I think how on gods earth is anyone going to sort this out!   When I think back to the early days of recycling it seems like the bins were not all that full. But now, I can’t fill it up fast enough. It terrifies me.

So I wonder, in our excitement over recycling did we close our eyes to just how much more stuff we accumulate and throw out? Is that why we did not question the fact that everything we buy is now wrapped in some totally unnecessary material? Did we figure, hey, its recyclable, no big deal?  Now I know the days of people looking at recycling as our salvation are over, our problems are much more complex then that. But in the part of my brain that loves the idea of utopia through regulation I wish someone would say to me “You can only fill that thing up once every two weeks, OR ELSE!”

Tags: Plastic in the News

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JazzyJake // Apr 20, 2009 at 9:26 am

    I have concerns about potential recycling of plastics and actual recycling of plastics. The perfect type of recycling is that which produces something made of the same material, like aluminum cans and glass bottles. Because of the polymer chemistry involved, the plastic yogurt container you attempt to recycle probably won’t be melted down and cast into another plastic yogurt container. This is another reason that plastic use must be curtailed.

    I recently purchased an OTC medicine at a warehouse store: the pills were in individual blister packs; they were in a box; the box was inside a clamshell. This is out of control. I was able to refuse a plastic bag, for a phyrric victory. 🙁

  • 2 JazzyJake // Apr 20, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Speaking of yogurt: remember when yogurt came in waxed-paper cups? Why not again?

    Remember when if you wanted, say, a picture hanger, you could go to your local hardware store and buy ONE – not a blister pack of 10?

    Drinking straws are a particular irritant to me, as are most plastics designed for 1 time use then hundreds of years in a landfill (if lucky enough to get there).

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