I think recycling is great. I’ve been supporting recycling since before I was able to actually do it (Romania is a bit behind on all that). I think we need to push the technologies further to the point where the concept of “recycling” is the norm: always reuse everything! I don’t want my future kids to have to recycle, I would rather they didn’t know what throwing away was. I could tell them fun “war stories” about how when I was their age I would actually sort things into stuff that can be reused and stuff that just has no more purpose and will be thrown away and burned. I’d hope their world will be so different that they will find it as hard to imagine as I may find the milkman.
I digress… but let me just make it exceptionally clear that I think recycling is fabulous and I’m a big supporter of it (done the right way).
What would be even more awesome is using less stuff to begin with!
Here’s my “tipping-point” example (though I’m sure everyone has their own that’s similar). When I don’t make it to a farmer’s market, I buy organic tomatoes because they taste vaguely closer to what I believe tomatoes should actually taste like.
Here’s an example of what I may purchase on an average day:
Can anyone explain to me… why in the world do I need my tomatoes to be placed on a plastic tray and wrapped in a plastic bag, before I even touch them? The fact that I am bringing my own bags to the store pales into utter insignificance in light of the fact that lots of the produce that I buy comes prewrapped in egrigious amount of plastic*! Sometimes, after I get home, I spent a good several minutes cutting everything open and throwing that stuff in the recycling bin because I simply can’t fit all that plastic in my tiny fridge.
So sure, yes, it *IS* getting recycled. But why does it have to be there in the first place? I fear that because we can recycle, we’ve become too relaxed about using extra stuff.
I could even go as far as suggesting that more things that come in plastic bottles be instead put in glass bottles that could be later returned. Milk comes to mind as a great starting point. Most families buy it periodically and they could bring back the old bottles every time they come get the new ones.
I could go even further, suggesting that we should be able to use some containers (like small baskets) in the store for grabbing produce and carrying it to the counter (so that they can be weighed and priced) and then leave them there at the counters. This way I could genuinely come to the store with three bags and leave with three bags, instead of three bags plus a dozen other smaller bags.
And don’t even get me started on the toxicity of plastics and how all of this may come together to an even bigger concern regarding health and the environment.
I won’t go there now, maybe some other time. In the mean time, I have to ask my council for more recycling bags again, because we blew through the last lot in a matter of weeks.
* that may have been a Jack Sparrow moment. Or not… We’ll never know.