November 23, 2014

Recycling is worth the extra clutter

Posted 4/22/10

My wife, Kay, and I live in a green house.

No, I don’t mean our house is painted green. That would be awful. I mean that over the past year or so, we have been recycling. This Thursday is Earth Day, and it made me think a little bit about all of the work we have been doing when it comes to recycling, in an attempt to do our part to help clean up the earth.

Now, when I say that we’ve been recycling, I am using that term very loosely. To legitimately be recycling, that would mean that Kay and I were actually making trips to the recycling center in West Branch to drop off our recycling. No, in reality we are being very careful to separate all of our recyclable things from our garbage, and then storing it in our home for months at a time without actually taking it anywhere.

So now, in our guest bathroom and entryway, we have approximately six months worth of newspaper and cardboard, just sitting in bags waiting to be taken to the recycling center. They’re starting to really get in the way. But not quite enough yet to get me to load them in the car and take them to the recycling center.

That’s the problem with recycling. It’s great for the environment, and I’m all for that, but it requires so much extra work to do that good deed.

And people have tried for years to give us some sort of incentive to get us to recycle. Such is the case with the bottle deposit, where you get 10 cents back for every bottle you take back.

Only that’s not really true, because you only get that 10 cents back on bottles that held a carbonated beverage. Why? Who made this decision? Is there some sort of different makeup in the plastic used in bottles for non-carbonated beverages that causes us not to be able to recycle them?

And it’s not just that you can’t get 10 cents for non-carbonated beverage bottles, they won’t even accept them. Have you ever tried to take them to a bottle return? They won’t allow it.

But my point is that even though they are essentially paying you to return your old bottles, many people still don’t bother to do it. In fact, they’re not even paying you, they’re charging you 10 cents extra when you purchase the beverage, and then allowing you to get your money back (if the stupid machine actually accepts the bottle) if you recycle, and people still won’t do it. In essence, they’re telling us that if we don’t recycle, they’re going to steal 10 cents per bottle from us.

And many people are OK with that, because they don’t want to take the extra effort to recycle.

It’s a lot easier to toss your recyclable objects in the trashcan. There are trashcans everywhere — not so many recycle bins. Not to mention, if you throw them in your own trash, all you have to do is put it at the curb each week, and the trash fairies will come by while you are at work and take it away, leaving you an empty trashcan.

I’m sure a lot more people would be willing to recycle if they could just take it to the curb.

But the thing we must all remember is that all it takes is a little bit of extra effort to help save the planet and help keep it clean. Landfills are filling up everywhere, and there’s no need to throw away things that can be reused or recycled.

So take a few extra minutes this week around Earth Day, and take a trip to the recycling center with your recyclable items.

And let’s not let it stop there. We should all make an extra effort all year long to recycle. Even if it means bags of recycling cluttering up your house for a few weeks before you can get to the recycling center.

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