Recycling is a bunch of hooey

'Landfill Operation Is Conducted by the City of New York on the Marshlands of Jamaica Bay. Pollution Hazards and Ecological Damage Have Called Out Strong Opposition 05/1973' photo (c) 1973, The U.S. National Archives - license: http://www.flickr.com/commons/usage/
Someone told me recently they had stopped recycling. I asked them why.

“Most of it ends up in landfills anyway,” they said smugly.  “So what’s  the point?”

They’re right you know. There’s a big conspiracy – we carefully collect, sort and haul our recyclables to the collections sites, and then the huge dumpster trucks come along under the cover of darkness and chuck everything off to the landfills. It’s documented, even in the New York Times. Or so people say.

But is this really the case? And frankly, are articles like this really substantiating the claims of the nay-sayers of recycling?

I mean if recycling has been devalued so much, maybe we should all throw in the paper/plastic towel and start tossing everything into the streets, like the good ol’ days. (remember the 70’s?).

Personally, I find it hard to believe we’ve had the earth-friendly wool pulled that far over our heads. Honestly, are we that gullible?

And yet, there are those who swear this conspiracy is right up there with Watergate and Who-Shot JR. Of course the political aspects (these types of programs are costly, ineffective and need to be tossed out – along with the recyclables) make it rich fodder for the “I know more than you do game” and the resulting “give me enough votes and I’ll make sure we trash everything that doesn’t serve my political purposes.” But frankly I’m not buying any of it.

Thus, to counteract those who feel recycling is going the way of the Dodo, I propose an interesting idea.

Whether recycling is or is not as profitable as it was a few years back, let’s keep doing our best just for the hell of it. Or perhaps, just because we know it’s wrong to clutter Mother Earth, ruin our water system and pollute our air. And on top of this, I propose we continue to beat the recycling drum, even if it isn’t resonating as strongly today.

If we give up on our principles, regardless of what they are, just because the market slows or the media tells us we won’t be in the “in crowd” anymore if we choose to go our own way – what is the point of principles in the first place? You can fall back on that kind of high school mentality and still go to all the cool parties, metaphorically, but then again selling your eco-friendly soul to the devil – well, historically this has never been a good decision.

I’m going to keep collecting, sorting and dragging my recyclables to the collection sites, in the same way that I continue to compost, re-purpose stuff and support earth-friendly companies. It’s who I am.

But then again, like my friend – I can’t speak for everyone.

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About greenupforlife

Facing life one green challenge at a time. Freelance writer specializing in green and sustainable articles, blogs, cocktail napkins, whatever keeps the creditors at bay, while building my client base leaf by leaf.
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5 Responses to Recycling is a bunch of hooey

  1. Kathleen says:

    And we should go for the “reuse” and especially the “reduce” part of that triangle, too!

  2. Just catching up on your blog. Recently I’ve been working on stories regarding the post office and the 3,600 potential closures. Most people credit the closures to electronic bill paying and emails—typically “green” practices. Have you thought about writing something along those lines? Perhaps there are ways to be green and still support local postage? Just a thought.

    • Interesting…I’ll look into this further. Another thought along this line, which isn’t exactly green but on my mind: one of the problems with almost any service that has been upgraded due to technological advances is the resulting loss of jobs. It’s like a rock and a hard spot really. Customer satisfaction might go up with the faster, easier technology – but then again, those who are let go because their jobs no longer exist certainly don’t see modern technology as a blessing. Maybe you could tackle this one 🙂

    • Interesting – I might delve into this further.

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