20 January 2009
The Recycling Battle
I've never had a problem with recycling. I remember years ago when I was staying in Toronto, they were so far ahead of the US in recycling - every where you went was recycling bins for cans, bottles etc. I loved that!
When we moved to Washington, I had the impression that it was more of a crunchy granola loving kind of area. There would be an emphasis on using mass transit instead of driving yourself everywhere, farmers markets galore (hey, I saw the Pike Place market!), and there would be easy access to everything organic and natural.
Ha ha ha haaa.
They're actually widening out roads more and more here. Hey, way to go on encouraging people to take mass transit instead of driving themselves! And my allergies? They've never been so bad.
When we lived in the apartment, they had several recycling bins, but none for plastic. I couldn't believe how much trash I suddenly had! And the recycling was included with the cost of trash.
When we moved here, the first thing the waste company said was recycling is mandatory in our community. That's great, I had NO problem with that. (I had already figured out where the large drop off spots were to be able to recycle our items, anyways) Even though we already owned recycling bins, they said there was an additional charge each month for the cost of recycling.
Alright, we said, even though I was going hmmm. Then I got the list of what they will and will not recycle, and I felt like we were taking a step backwards. Now we could recycle SOME plastics, but very little. The list of what they would not recycle was longer than the list of what we could put into the bins!
We received one of those mass mailing letters from our trash company today to remind everyone that they will only pick up certain types of recycling, regardless of what the number says on the bottom of the item.
Their reasoning? The market cost for them selling certain items back to be recycled was too high on other items.
Now we PAY them to pick up recycling and send it off to be recycled. The landfills in this country are filled with trash that could easily be recycled or reused, sent to thrift stores, or easily repaired. People should be encouraged to recycle everything they can, not told that their shampoos bottles don't net your company enough profit to bother with.
I had a conversation a few months back with my cousin, who has two young children, and we were talking about the differences between here and back in the UK. Between recycling, and her small compost pile, she barely ends up with a small shopping bag worth of trash each week. Us? we end up with an entire trash can worth of "trash" simply because it's not PROFITABLE enough to recycle.
Sickening? I think so. I think it's time current standards changed. Enough with the shopping bags (Please don't tell me then the low income folks have to buy bags. I have entire stack of them here I didn't pay a cent for, that all came through promos at the store. Yes, I might use my more fun ones I paid for, but you CAN get them free), enough with the excess packaging, enough with the building new homes no one can afford.
And don't even get me started on this whole CPSIA law, where they are forcing businesses to throw out entire inventories into landfills, and encouraging parents to do the same with perfectly fine children's goods. Yeah, Congress, way to go on the whole environmental issue. /sarcasm.
The country needs more jobs? Great - open more recycling plants and encourage businesses and consumers to do MORE!