“No, I don’t even recycle,” said Hannah (Lena Dunham) in an episode of Girls.
I’m with Hannah! Well, I do recycle, if somewhat irritably, but it’s mainly a sop for conscience. The manufacturers are the real polluters, and I think we all understand that. It takes 500 years for plastic bags and plastic bottles to decompose at landfills. You might as well throw out plutonium.
But haven’t I already recycled a zillion newspapers and magazines to save the world? Where on earth does it go? (It used to go to China.) Is it turned into composition books with coarse paper, or off-brand abrasive Kleenex? Not much of a save.
Much of the recycled garbage we trustingly sort and put in green bins is exported by recycling companies to Asia. China used to take the majority of the most disgusting stuff, but decided last year it didn’t want to be “the world’s garbage dump” and banned many toxic plastics and paper. Waste managers all over the world were stumped as to where to send it. This affected the U.S., the UK, Europe, and Australia. A lot of recyclables ended up in landfills in 2018.
I know being grumpy about recycling makes me sound like a freak, but I really am an environmentalist. I have never driven a car, live in an urban neighborhood where it is unnecessary to do so, walk, bicycle, and take the bus, and am aware that denying the impact of fossil fuels killed the planet. If you’re still driving a truck or an SUV, you might want to rethink that. I understand it’s not too late to reverse climate change.
It is tough to shrink the carbon footprint. We ALL pollute. I’ve made a choice to do my best but do not deny myself creature comforts. I use Kleenex, paper towels, paper plates, buy food grown by agribusinesses (I can’t afford organic), buy takeout food in plastic packages, occasionally forget to bring my cloth bags, and turn up the thermostat during the day. We’re not given incentives to shop long hours for the greenest products, which are sometimes the most expensive. Everybody acknowledges the impact of global warming, but the government needs to act.
“INCOMING! WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!”
Recycling seems a bit like a school project, doesn’t it? The government needs to ban lethal plastics at the very least.
Another day spent saving Planet Earth! I wish.