Thursday, December 29, 2005

What I learned on Holiday

Many things really. I learned that my nephew is a smart, growing, fantastic and loveable 2 year old who reminded me how to smile and laugh. I learned, again, that it’s good to relax and let your mind go every once in a while. And I also learned that Tacoma, Wa. has one of the most recycling programs I have ever witnessed. There is a place to recycle batteries, Styrofoam corn, all kinds of boxes, paper, bottles, plastics, bags, and the list just goes on! It puts my state to shame. About a month ago, the waste department here in Fort Lauderdale refused to take my recycling because there was mixed paper in my bin. I was saddened to learn that only newspaper could be recycled as well as a limited amount of other items could be recycled by an orange sticker placed on the side of my “rejected” recycling bin. I was dismayed. Throwing away good paper, never to be recycled or reused, is a crime in my opinion. I am always “thrifty” with my paper. Being in school and having to do a great deal of printing and copying, I always use both sides of a piece of paper except for when I am handing in a paper. I am careful to wash cans and bottles, fold boxes and sort the mix. But the mix was rejected. I have heard many arguments for why recycling is not really practical. Most of these arguments are circulated by big businesses who don’t wish to spend the extra money to use recycled material. “It costs too much” and “the cost has to be placed on the consumer who won’t pay the extra for the product.” Yet in Seattle, and Tacoma, there are laws and incentives to use and produce recycled products. Because everyone uses them (even if they don’t know it often) the cost is not outrageous. Even Starbucks, I was informed by my sister the goddess of recycling, uses 100 percent recycled paper products in, at least, their Tacoma store. When you think about it, even if you spend a few more pennies for recycled paper and other recycled products what is the big deal? You are helping the environment. By recycling batteries oil and other household waste correctly, you are saving the earth. So, I ask you, how can we convince folks to recycle more and how can we get our local government to insist on more expansive recycling programs?

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