So, You Think You Are Recycling!
More people seem to have started recycling. I base this statement on watching my neighbors. I have noticed that they will now take the extra few steps to recycle. Bravo!
There are a number of people that seem to not really get what recycling is about; even though they recycle. There are others who just do not care about recycling. And yet others that are so brain-washed about recycling, that when they do their part for recycling, they end up harming more than helping.
So I figured that I would tackle one area of recycling that many people do not seem to notice, and yet has the potential of being one of the worst contributors of waste. It is something that many of us have been sold on by the advertising giants and ad spin-doctors.
I refer to the “use once and throw away” market. You know, things like paper plates, plastic forks and spoons, and Styrofoam cups. The type of table-ware you use for picnics, parties, and other celebrations.
Think about it for a moment. No! I really want you to think about this. We cut down trees, dig up coal, plunder our natural resources to make a paper plate that we will only use one (maybe two) times; only to throw it away. I would guess that you typically would get only about 10 to 25 minutes of use out of the items. Then we throw it away!
I hope you are still thinking about this, because here is what is the really confusing part about this to me. Instead of buying a stack of paper plates, why not instead buy a stack of wooden (or even plastic ones for that matter) plates?
Hear me out. Let's say you purchase a stack of (25) plastic plates, the kind you wash and re-use. Now, at your next event, you instruct your guests to keep the plate for as long as they need it. Then, when done using the plate, to put the trash from the plate in the garbage, but to stack the plate in a predesignated area.
When you event is over, just wash the plates and store until the next event. Wouldn't this save you both time and money? Wouldn't you have just save 25 paper plates from going into the garbage. Now, what if only half of the population that currently use paper plates adopted this technique? What resources would we save?
When I see and ad in the newspaper or on the TV about using disposable items like paper plates or plastic forks and spoons, I often wonder where the people are getting the money to purchase these items from? Or are they just that lazy about washing a few items?
I want you to think about this, the next time you go to (or host) an event. How would that event been impacted by using regular plates, wooden cups, and non-throw-away washable utensils? If we are ever going to change things around, we need to start with ourselves first. Then our homes. Then our families. Yes, it is an uphill battle; but it an easily winnable one.
It will take some people longer to understand why we should do this. But you have to keep reminding them about it. Some may never get it. But do not let that stop you from trying to get them to understand why it needs to be done.