I’m against recycling. You heard me, I’m against it. Keep reading to find out why. I’m very concerned for our environment and consider myself a “granola”. I’ve been known to eat twigs and bark and I love to run in the wilderness. Since I don’t always have time to get out on my beloved trails, I run around my neighborhood with my three dogs Lucy, Sierra, and Taz.
While on our runs, we dodge trash of all sorts. Broken glass, aluminum cans, plastic water bottles, and my favorite, plastic grocery bags. Occasionally I have to police my route and sweep glass from the sidewalk and street so my running partners don’t cut their paws. On our runs, I sometimes pick up a few pieces of trash, especially glass bottles, and put them in Taz’s saddlebags. (He loves his backpack – makes him feel important).
If I don’t pick up the bottles, they will end up broken in the street in a day or two. So why am I against recycling? When I was a kid, I learned about the three “Rs” of rubbish – reduce, re-use, and recycle. Our society as a whole overlooks the first two Rs and overuses the third (recycle).
Recycling is overrated. If we practiced reduce and re-use, we wouldn’t have to recycle nearly as much. Recycling uses energy and so does producing excess packaging. Bottled water is a prime example of unnecessary waste. One blogger wrote that buying bottled water was like paying for the air you breathe. Municipal water supplies are regulated while bottled water is not. Allaboutwater.org writes,
“Bottled water, because it is defined as a 'food' under federal regulations, is under the authority of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—under much stricter standards—regulates tap water. Thus, bottled water, depending upon the brand, may actually be less clean and safe than tap water.”
I remember taking the trash out as a child. We used the brown paper bags that we put our groceries in for trash can “liners”. As a tree hugger, I don’t like the idea of using a bunch of paper products, but at least the brown bags biodegrade. I see more plastic shopping bags hanging in the trees and blowing in the streets than in the recycling bin. San Francisco has actually passed a law banning plastic bags and the use of city funds to purchase bottled water.
Another childhood memory is collecting returnable glass bottles and taking them back to the store for a nickel apiece. We would use the funds for a few pieces of candy and the bottles would be re-used instead of put in the landfill or recycled. How much of our trash is recycled anyway? According to Nat Geo: Aluminum drink cans: 44.8 %, Tires: 35.6 %, Plastic soda bottles: 34.1 %, milk / water bottles: 28.8 %,
Glass containers: 25.3 %. Where does the rest go?
Today is trash day, so my dogs and I went for a jaunt around the hood and found a lot of litter blowing around in the street. The reason there is more today is because the trash truck is automated. Once again, going back to my childhood, I remember garbage being collected by at least three people. One drove the truck while two rode on the back, jumped off and manually placed the trash in the truck. All the trash went in the truck. Today one person drives the truck and a robotic arm picks up the trash cart allowing much of the trash to blow away.
How can we help? First by reducing the amount of trash we produce. Use reusable water bottles and fill them up at the tap. Use reusable grocery bags. You know, the ones that you see at the cash register for a buck. If you already have some, but are like me, and can never remember to take them in when you shop, keep them in your car. These are just a few of the many things we can do to reduce and re-use.