Plastic. Why do we make something that will last forever and then use it for things that will be thrown away? Most of the plastic is used one time.
There is a big blob of plastic trash stuff swirling around in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is in an area where the currents come together. It consists of plastic bags, plastic bottles, tires, fishing nets, and other nondecomposable items. It is twice the size of Texas. The trash has been dumped from cruise ships and cargo ships. It is also made up of one bottle left on the beach. One can thrown out a car window. A plastic bag blown from a landfill. All of these items have found their way to the ocean and made their way through the currents to the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean. The problem now is “Who is responsible for the clean up?”
California alone consumes 11 billion of those plastic grocery bags each year. Most of them will only be used one time and then they will go to the landfill only to sit for hundreds or thousands of years—unless, of course, they get caught by the wind and blown to the ocean where the currents will take them to the Great Garbage Patch.
At the grocery store last week, the checker asked me, “Paper or Plastic?” Having forgotten to bring in my cotton grocery bags with me, I replied, “Neither.” The problem was that ‘neither’ wasn’t one of the options. I was afraid that she was going to have to call the manager for an override or something. I did manage to make it out of the store without my paper or my plastic. I did have a couple of big reusable bags in the back of the car, so I packed my stuff from the cart, into the bags and into the back of the car. It only took an extra minute or two.
I don’t do everything right. Last week we went to lunch and we brought the leftovers home in a Styrofoam box. Ooops. And I do get a newspaper. Everyday. I could read the same stuff online, but I like to read the newspaper. One of these days I will cancel, but for now I just recycle it. And I am not known for my short showers. Baby steps….
Added: Mapleton does not have a city recycle program. However, the city does endorse a private recycling program. It is actually just a local family that does this for extra income. It is the Roger Merrill family. They come around on Wednesdays which is the early out day for school, giving them extra time to make the rounds. They pick up paper for $5 per month and drop it off directly at the local schools. So, basically I am paying them $5 a month to do the same exact thing that I could do for free. Except that my time and my gas are not exactly free. I am fine with the fact that they do it for me for $5. I don't have to figure out when to make time to deal with it. They pick it up every week--rain or shine.
Then I pay them another $5 a month to pick up everything else. When I first signed up with them I asked them if I needed to separate all of the plastics according to the number on the bottom of the carton located in the middle of the triangle. They kind of laughed at me and told me to just throw it all into the same container. They would sort through it later once they picked it all up and got it home. They said that if the public had to separate it at all, most of them would find it too much of an inconvenience and wouldn't bother to recycle. So, I am totally OK with sending them off each week with one big container of my "trash" for them to sort through later. I am also perfectly fine with the fact that once they sort through all of the "trash", they take it to various locations to recycle it and get cash back for it. The amount that I would get would (again) not be worth my time and effort individually. But it certainly is worth their effort to gather all of the recyclable things from this community and get cash for it. It is absolutely worth $5 each month for me to rinse out a few cans and containers, set out on the curb once a week, and rid my conscience of any worries as to how I am going to find time to save the Earth. I think these people are pretty dang cool for taking the initiative to get their hands dirty and provide this service to the community at the same time they are making money for the needs and wants of their family.
thanks for your comments.
It's true. My recycle bins are always overflowing each week. It really cramps my style when we forget to take out the recycle bins EACH week because by the second week there is a ton of stuff. However, I think we could go 2 weeks between our regular trash pick-ups and not even get close to filling out trash bins.