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Thursday, April 21, 2011

too old to recycle???

Note:  A few of you may have read this post in its original form a few weeks ago when I first shared it.  I pulled it off the shelf b/c I thought it was too angry.  And I don't want to be angry.  So here's the edited version, still passionate but more encouraging, I hope.   A recycled story for you.  ;-)  Enjoy! 

A few months ago, I visited my hubby MG at his office in Faneuil Hall.  I met him in a little cafeteria called Taste of the Town.  While I waited for him, I had an egg sandwich and a bottle of apple juice.  MG came down and I hopped up to throw away my empties and couldn’t find the recycling bin.  The owner happened to be right there and I asked about it.  He said with a smile (and I quote), “I’m too old to recycle.”  I swear I almost launched over the counter to take him out.  WTF???  WHO SAYS THAT???  Of course I laid into him, saying things like, “Are you serious???  You have hundreds of people eating here every day!  Don’t you care about your grandchildren?  Your planet???!!”  MG grabbed my arm and dragged me out lecturing, “Vanessa, you can’t unload on people who don’t think like you!”  

He was right in a way, but this is not about me.  This is about all of us  When someone steps on your toe, you say, "Excuse me, sir, you're stepping on my toe," right?  If your roommate is leaving bright blue globs of Crest in your sink, you say, "Can you clean this up, please?"  So if someone is adding to the dumpfest here on earth, it's okay to say, "What you do matters.  Can you do better?  It's important and you make a huge difference!"
This planet is suffering.  Google the word "dump" and click image.  You’ll want to puke when you see and read about the amount of waste we create.  Ignoring will not make it go away.  I mean, there are families, TINY BABIES, in third world countries LIVING LIVING LIVING on MOUNTAINS of sickening TRASH.  They are poor without options and sick from the fumes and filth.  It’s absolutely heart breaking.  It’s not just in poverty stricken areas, though, and it’s not just “them”.  It’s US.  And WE are also responsible for this.  We all are RESPONSIBLE.  

You don’t have to be poor or live in a third world country to suffer the effects of waste.  (Case in point – a book/movie we all know, “A Civil Action” based on middle class suburban town Woburn, Mass., the town next door to my town, Winchester.) Waste doesn’t understand property lines.  It rides through the air, floats down the river and seeps into the soil.  It’s everywhere.   

Every week I drive past an enormous landfill, a benign name for a toxic pile of nastiness, along the highway just a few miles from my home.  By nature, this landfill is seeping METHANE GAS and polluting the air.  It's hidden under a layer of bright green grass because we suburb dwellers don’t want to see it or be reminded it’s there.  But it is. 

One person creates hundreds of pounds of waste in a year and the pile is growing bigger every day.  But YOU can reduce it!  YOU matter!  YOU make a difference!  YOU have (say it with me people) SUPERPOWERS!   

For those who could use some inspiration, here are a few things I do to conserve...

I know this is hard and I am sometimes criminal of this, too, but buy only what you will consume.  Isn't it a terrible feeling to look in the fridge and see food that went bad before you could eat it?  I try to spare myself this scenario by food shopping daily and sticking to my list. 

My personal pet peeve is the ubiquitous cardboard box in the grocery store.  The cereal box, the cracker box, the frozen chicken box.  Why the hell are these things in boxes when inside the box there is a SEALED BAG???  Shouldn't trees win over marketing?  Three Sisters and Envirokidz are companies that bag cereal.  There are others, too.  When the bag is empty I use it to pick up my dog's poop.  :-)  You can also save some extra plastic by buying liquid hand soap refills.  (Baby steps.)

The opportunities are limitless!  Instead of buying the snack packs for your kids' lunch boxes or using Ziplocs, buy the big bag and throw a handful in a Tupperware container.  (They sell cheap BPA-free ones at Old Navy.)  Bottled water is a part of life, but it doesn't have to be.  Use a canteen whenever possible.  Buy biodegradable garbage bags.  I didn't know they existed until this summer.  But now I don't know why bag manufacturers make anything else.

These ideas are not rocket science and most of you reading this post probably do these things already.  So to those who don’t, please reduce, recycle, change your heart and your habits, think about packaging, employ a green trash collector, do what you can.  Your planet cares.  Your children do, too!  Don’t leave your babies with skuzzy leftovers.  Don't add to the problem unnecessarily.  You don't have to!

We all know better.  Let’s do better.  

We can’t buy our way out of this problem.  We just really need to act responsibly – no matter how old we are.


this is not right.

literally, in their back yards.

piling up on city sidewalks.  look at all that cardboard that could be recycled!

mountain high.

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