07 April 2009

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Do you recycle? I do...sometimes.

I can admit that I may not care about the environment as much as I should. Here's the thing, though. I don't want to have kids. And I figure you people can't screw up the environment so much that it's unlivable in the next, say, 60 years. So I'm kinda...good.

It's not that I'm against recycling. When it's easy, I'll do it happily. But I don't really go out of my way to recycle. Plus, to be honest, I get confused. Do you still have to rinse everything out before it goes in the recycle bin? Because that's a pain in the ass. And do I have to separate things? Because that's also a pain in the ass. And what exactly can I recycle anyway? Yeah, you can act like you know, but I bet a lot of people have these same questions. And I bet they don't bother to do the research either.

I even set up a little paper bag for my recycling at home. Now it's full. And I have no interest in taking it anywhere.

Anyway, here's my beef:

A lot of companies and schools are getting on the "we should recycle" bandwagon. And that's good, right? Actually, no. It's not.

These environmentally friendly companies and schools start massive recycling campaigns. They put recycle bins out everywhere. This one is for 20-oz plastic soda bottles. This one is for paper. This one is for other plastics. This one is for aluminum cans. On each one, there's a long list of things they would really like you to not put in there. Gum, cigarette butts, food, etc.

But here's where they've made their mistake. Recycle bins in abundance. Far fewer trashcans. And guess what, people? We freakin' need trash cans. I have to throw my paper towels, gum, food somewhere. And if I can't find a trashcan, the most likely place for me to throw it away is in your recycle bin. And if that happens, how is it different from a trashcan anyway?

It isn't.

And the people that you hire to take out the trash? Don't know the difference. On my college campus, I saw many a recycle bin get emptied into the trash with everything else. Because there was trash in it and because the trash people don't want to deal with separating stuff out. Do you blame them?

I have to go to FedEx/Kinko's/FedEx Office or whatever it's called once a week to do work for my mother. There isn't a single trashcan there. I understand that they have a lot of paper waste, so recycle bins make sense, but good grief...where am I supposed to throw my broken binder clip? Are post-its recyclable? They have all that sticky stuff on the back, so I'm not sure. And what about the plastic-y thing I peel off my FedEx Pak envelope? Is that recyclable? Gah!

Usually I just stuff all my trash in my pockets and dispose of it at home.


*They say you have to stand for something, right? So I'm speaking up for the trashcans, as they cannot speak for themselves. I'm pretty sure I deserve my own National Holiday for this crusade.


Kelly said...

I have kids and I'm terrible at it! Barney has been nagging me about the earth (via on demand) all week. Making me feel guilty and murderous all at once.

LiLu said...

You're such a rebel! Sticking up for trash cans like that, you badass :-)

Meg Kathleen said...

I'm pretty bad about it...the boyfriend gives me a hard time about it. He's forcing me to be a better citizen. It sucks.

Amy said...

This is so true! At work I have a trash can, and a blue can for the paper shredder, which I feel like a rebel when I don't pull the staples out of the papers when I toss stuff in there... And the Post-Its! Do they gum up the shredder?

shine (the artist formerly known as meshealle) said...

Kelly: You should never listen to that dinosaur-guy. He makes shit up. "I love you, you love me..." Uh, no. I don't.

LiLu: I know, right? But someone has to stick up for the little guy.

Meg: Never let anyone force you to be a better citizen. In your honor, today I will throw all my pieces of gum in recycle bins, just to fuck with the system.

Amy: I wouldn't put post-its in the shredder. That's just screaming for trouble. I'm not even sure how, but it is.