Friday, April 4, 2008

Challenge of recycling

I'm a firm believer in recycling. I'm also a firm believer in not buying extra stuff that takes up space and wastes my time, both commodities of which I have precious little. But I do have to buy some stuff, and that stuff inevitably generates waste in the form of packaging or from becoming useless end of life junk. That's where recycling should come into play. The responsible thing to do would be to recycle everything possible.

However, we seem to have a culture set up to make recycling a royal hassle. It's probably a result of our short attention span, consumeristic, throwaway mentality. Not many people take the time to consider how much trash they generate as part of their daily lives. If it's not convenient, recycling probably just isn't going to happen. Just take plastic bottles for example. They are mostly recyclable, but something like 80% of them get thrown out in the regular trash and landfilled.

Right now, I actually have to drive my recyclables to a recycling center. My apartment doesn't have recycling, and recycling at work involves walking down 2 flights of stairs and out into the courtyard to find a recycling bin. This doesn't even include harder to recycle items like a pair of power supplies and some dead batteries. I have no idea how to get rid of those without chucking them in the trash can. If my plan of selling my van (which is getting to point where maintenance is a real time and money drain) goes through, I'll have limited options for hauling my recyclables and will probably just have to toss everything in the garbage.

I guess Kermit was right. It's not easy being green.

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