Friday, March 9, 2012

Thank you, Ms. K. Jacobson!

I concur wholeheartedly with the young Ms. K. Jacobson and congratulate her on her neighborhood garbage sorting quest in order to see firsthand the organic matter that could have been recycled!
It is strange how sometimes a person’s garbage canister speaks more clearly about ecology than the person itself, isn’t it?

We live in a society that is not really very efficient, as it generates thousands of tons of trash and garbage daily on a global scale. To prove our point, all we need do is make our casual, weekly shopping trip to the grocery store. Once we get back home and start putting everything away in its place after unpacking, unwrapping and removing the actual product, we can clearly see that we’re left with a rather considerable mound of either paper, plastic, cardboard, metal or a combination of all, most of it perfectly suitable for recycling. The staggering statistics really begin to add up when that single example of casual shopping is multiplied by the millions of people who are doing exactly the same thing.

But wait!... I haven’t even gotten to the forgotten groceries stashed away at the back of the vegetable bin, such as the mushy celery, the wrinkled-up kiwi fruit we bought two weeks ago, the flaccid carrots, the mummified orange with its greenish patches, or the bunch of parsley on the verge of life support!
Chances are, that we’ll simply gather up the dead greens and toss them in the kitchen’s trash can and be done with it, right?

Unfortunately, yes.

In my particular case my business generates quite a considerable amount of waste paper, primarily letter-size sheets and envelopes. The next greatest amount comes through what I call “recyclable mail”, such as announcements, catalogs, unsolicited mail, occasional periodicals and such. From the domestic side, there are quite a few cans, plastic and glass bottles, plastic shopping bags and cardboard boxes, all usually coming from the now-depleted staples. Happily, though, I can say that my blue recycling canister fills up almost three times as fast as my trash canister and I only pull it to the curb on collection days once every two weeks. That makes for efficient collection as well as fuel savings.

Let’s not forget that another one of the major culprits of these titanic tons of trash, are the manufactured goods that cannot be repaired and therefore must be discarded entirely and a new one purchased to replace it. Examples of it, are the millions of perfectly good writing pens that after running out of ink, are simply thrown away because replacement ink cartridges are not available for them. The same happens with disposable lighters, cell phones, computers and similar items that we are forced to throw away because the manufacturers rather sell you a whole new replacement item rather than make replacement parts for it. The modern automotive industry is a good example of that.

I prefer to believe that we must educate ourselves in rethinking the ways in which future trash and garbage are NOT created, rather than how they are disposed. Going back to the organics, I am grateful that we do have those green canisters into which we can place and safely keep organic material until collection day. Let’s not complain too much about the smell, because when I lift the lift the lid of my trash canister, the whiff could knock me over, especially during the summer months, so I think it’s a very small price to pay, considering the alternative.

Thank you, Ms. K. Jacobson for your very stimulating and important article!


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