- Politics and Social Issues
H.O.W. to help the World through recycling
Today, my wife Tina and I took a trip to our local Recycling Center. It is not too far away from where we live, perhaps 5 miles or so. We gather up and collect all of our items which can be recycled and save them for our trip, which we usually take every week or so. At our peak, we were a family of seven, and with that many in one household, you can imagine the amount of waste products that are produced.Tina decided we needed to do something with the trash we had, so she drafted me to help separate the items we could recycle, and that which we could not.
A trip to the local recycle center allowed us to see what could be recycled. Newspapers, papers, cardboard, aluminum cans, foil, and trays, tin cans and other metals, plastic certified as number 1 and 2 by the recycle emblem, plastic shopping bags, glass, and Styrofoam packing were among the items accepted. In addition to these items, you could drop off broken or damaged electronics such as speakers and televisions, computer terminals and other electronics. Every now and again, they will host a tire drop off free of charge in order to encourage citizens to bring in their old car and truck tires. These will be used to create things such as flooring, footwear, landscape items, rubberized asphalt, and even earth friendly houses.
There is a section of the recycling center set aside for other, more immediate use items like egg crates, toys, movies, and even books! You can bring any of these items in and set them on shelves that have been set up for this purpose. I have been fortunate enough to find first editions of some wonderful books to add to my collection. Books such as From Here to Eternity, The Robe, and even a Winnie the Pooh book for my son. I have taken some of my books which I no longer wanted and donated them for others to enjoy. There is also mulch to be had from trees and limbs cut down by the citizens of the city and the various city workers and utility companies. These have been placed into a mulching machine, and the mulch placed at the center for all to use free of charge. As a matter of fact, all of the facilities are for use free of charge, which makes it no problem for people to use. No excuses, people.
Our weekly trash that is picked up is down to two 13 gallon bags for a family of six now. We recycle almost twice as much as we throw away, and by looking at the amount of people at the center when we go, others have joined us in our attempt to limit the amount of trash we dispose of. There are many estimates to show how much trash an average person in the United States produces on a daily basis. In the mid Sixties, the estimate ran to just over 2 pounds per person per day. In the late Eighties, than number had doubled to 4 pounds per person per day. Today, that number has escalated to around 5 pounds per person per day. With the population of the country in excess of 300,000,000 people, one can see just how quickly we can be overwhelmed by trash if we do not do something about it, and soon. If we do not, we will be up to our armpits in trash, and what kind of legacy is that to leave your children and grandchildren.
How many of you have seen the movie WALL-E? The movie about the little robot left alone on Earth long after its population has gone into space and left a team of robots to clean up its mess was an eye opener for a lot of people. Some who saw it did not get the underlying messages of the direction the human race is going, coupled with the vast consumerism and disposable society we are becoming. When I first saw it, I was struck by the vision of a completely trashed Earth, not too far removed from the vision put forth in Planet of the Apes. Mankind destroys the Earth in its selfish and egocentric manners in both films, but WALL-E takes us to a different level; that being exactly where we are right now. For those who saw it, do you remember the seemingly innocent ways the humans failed to interact with one another? Setting behind computer screens, completely out of touch with what went on around them. Their bodies had become obese and without muscle tone enough to walk. Media controlled their every mood, even to the point of what their favorite color was.
I know I have gone off on a tangent here, but my intent was for you to see where we are currently at, and where we are headed. While I am not saying we will end up like the situation in the movie, can any of you doubt we are not moving in that direction? For those who live in large cities along the coasts, such as New York, is it not a normal sight to see barges heaped with trash chugging along along the rivers and bound for the open sea? They are carrying the 12,000 TONS of garbage created each day in New York, and are bound for other states to dump in their landfills. What will happen when those landfills are full? It is becoming more and more difficult to grant a license to operate a landfill, and the time will come when there is nowhere left to put it.The trash barge Mobro 4000 towed a barge full of over 3,000 tons of New York City garbage to Belize and back,covering 112 days before it was brought back to New York and incinerated. We cannot continue to burn our trash, and we cannot just keep digging a hole and throwing it in. We must find a way to minimize and eventually eliminate our waste products lest we face the fate of Mankind as those in the movie did; just load up on a spaceship and leave all of our crap behind for someone else to clean up.
That is not the answer. Help us to spread the word concerning recycling. Do your part to pull the items which can be recycled out of the trash and take it to a center specializing in this. If your locale does not have a recycling center, join together with others of your community and demand one be put in place. We cannot afford to continue to create this problem without searching for a solution. For our children's sake, do your part.