Picture Christmas morning in your mind’s eye (you know this scenario very well):
The children’s eyes pop open and they hop out of bed. As you sip your morning coffee, your little urchins dash for the Christmas tree and tear into the presents like frenzied piranhas attacking a dying cow. In their wake, they leave a trail of brightly colored Christmas paper and packaging.
After the excitement dies, you gather the mountain of paper, cardboard, and plastic to carry it to the recycle bin. You are confident that the recycling company will ship it all to China, where it will be transformed into crappy plastic toys that the Chinese will sell back to us next Christmas.
If you are patting yourself on the back at this point for being a responsible person and doing your part to save the planet, you might have to think again. The trash that you recycle may end up in the landfill anyway!
The recycling business, just like every other business on the planet, is experiencing hard times. I briefly caught a “news” story on television as I was cooking supper yesterday. It seems that a local recycling center is struggling. They have reduced their work force from 100 people down to 50, because business isn’t so good.
It’s not that there isn’t anything to recycle. It’s that there aren’t many buyers, in this economy, for the recyclable materials. Y’all know how we aren’t buying as many unnecessary plastic objects because our pocketbooks are so skinny? Well … that reduces the demand for the recycled goods.
This news disturbed me, because I have been patting myself on the back for recycling (of course, our city demands it and will fine you if you don’t). I’m thinking that maybe I’m looking at this whole recycling from the wrong end.
Maybe I shouldn’t be bringing home that trash in the first place!
Oh, I already knew that. But, even though I know it, I don’t do what I should. I buy rolls of paper towels that are individually encased in plastic, and then wrapped together in another plastic casing. How silly is that? I shouldn’t even be buying the paper towels in the first place. Not if I want a “green planet.” I definitely should be looking at how much packaging encases the products I purchase.
I’ve been thinking of a few tiny changes I can make that will stop some of the waste. I’m asking you to give me some other suggestions. Maybe I can make this list really long. If you can think of one thing would you add it in the comments? I’ll add it to the list with a link back to you.
[and, remember that until December 12th, any comment you make causes me to donate a can of food to my local food bank]
- I’m going to remember to keep those cloth bags for carrying groceries in my car instead of in the pantry. I always forget them when I go shopping and wind up bringing home groceries in plastic bags.
- I’m taking my own cup to the coffee shop to get my mocha — so I don’t get another paper cup to throw away.
- Instead of buying black wrapping paper to wrap the 50 tiny gifts for Mr. Tucker’s birthday later this month, I’m wrapping them in the comic section of the newspaper. That fits his personality better, anyway, and at least it will get two uses before it goes to the dump.
So help me create this list, won’t you? Give me a simple suggestion for ways to cut the waste.