I am not saying that I am proud of this trait I am about to reveal but rather that it exists and I’m workin’ on it.
I’m not as “crunchy” as I appear. I’ll admit that I homeschool, had all 4 of my children at home (yes, on purpose and yes, without drugs), consider myself a pacifist and a Jesus freak but there is one element missing to the picture you may have begun to draw (two elements if you would please remove the image of “birkenstocks” from your mind.) I do not recycle.
I was accused once of being a “tree-hugger” and I do love trees. Truly, I do. I just don’t recycle. This is not some kind of political or environmental stance. It’s a shortcoming that I hope to rectify in my near future but one which I doubt will happen before my youngest quits his pampers.
When I lived in the big city I did try to recycle. We had this nifty “bag” system, put all your paper in a bag and all your plastic in another bag and all your glass in yet another bag…all bags being blue. I did very well for a time and then, life got a little more complicated and another little person came to live with us and then I did well for a time and then, life got a little more complicated and another little person came to live in the house and then…well, you get the picture. For a while there I did end up throwing everything even remotely recyclable into a single blue bag, hoping that someone on the other side of the process would be able to work it out on their end.
The guilt was terrible. I kept thinking of the poor shrinking planet and the hole in the ozone. I thought of the dedicated people who worked so hard to put the plan in place in the big city to save us all from ourselves.
And then, I read an article in the paper about the city’s recycling center. It was under investigation and was likely going to be shut down. It seems that the “recycling” part of the city’s program was in effect, a lie. The picture on the front page showed the pile of “blue bags” which rose out of the center of the dump like a great blue thumb pointing upward. According to the article the sorting and the bagging was about as far in the process as the city had gotten. No actual “recycling” was happening. We didn’t have a recycling program, we had a sorting and bagging system. I guess you could say that at most they had managed to merely “sequester” the recyclables from the rest of the garbage.
This soured me on the whole idea. I’ll admit that it gave me a sort of reprieve of conscience at my own utter lack of responsibility in this matter. I retreated to a common thread of thought which removes one from the picture of the planet at large, a participant of something greater than our manicured lawns and Walmart shopping sprees. I put on the blinders of my own personal problems and let it go.
Then we moved here, to the country, where the city won’t come up to our house to retrieve the garbage. Instead, a nice man named Ed comes in his pick up truck up the gravel road and takes away the waste each week in exchange for $25 a month. No questions asked. I think I asked him about the “recycling” program in this area and maybe he chuckled a little. He chuckled, I chuckled…then I dropped the subject.
In my own defense, I did start composting and did brilliantly but then the garden project was pushed to “next year” and the composter sits…full…ready…and gross, truth be told…nothing to fertilize. The trash compactor feels like a start of sorts. I buy local and organic, does that help? I promise to vote for the “greenest” candidate this year, will that penance suffice?
I know that something has got to give. Again, I do not feel proud of my part in defiling the planet but I’m workin’ on it. Potty training first, recycling next.