What remains…

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.


9 thoughts on “What remains…

  1. I have never lived where there was a city program for recycling, so I am not used to it. When I visit my family in Reno I get in trouble for throwing away my soda cans because they have a special trash can for those. It is a whole new world to me. I applaud you for paying attention to it, that is more than I do.

    I take my own shopping bag to Whole Foods, but maybe thats because they give me .05 off of my purchase. Otherwise I think I would forget to do it. I drive a big truck, so I am a part of the problem, I know that. 😦

  2. It’s allowed… we can’t all be perfect.

    I don’t always manage to recycle when they come and collecte it from my blummin’ door. If I ever manage to produce a sprog we have a real nappy service, yep, I put the soiled ones out in a blue bag and they take em away and leave me a pile of super sterilised clean ones… they make it so easy but I bet I end up buying the 70% recyclable ones from my local supermarket….

    It’s all relative. You don’t send your kids to school so you’re not taking them there each day in your car or if you have a school bus system in your area, you’re not contributing to the need for a chuggy carbonising school bus…

    So I say chill it’s all relative and you’re doing ok.



  3. in Malaysia, supermarkets/hypermarkets/whatever-markets do not give paper bags for shoppers. They give plastic bags which are really bad for the planet. People here don’t really care about Earth. You can see rubbish (plastic bags) everywhere.
    Well, guess it’s a bit hard to change the mentality of the people here…..but i do hope that companies like TESCO can start using paper bags instead of plastic bags 😀

  4. I’m not good at recycling. I drink a lot of diet soda and I will try and be good and save my aluminum cans, but I always get tired of bags of cans sitting in my basement until there’s enough to make it worth the trip to take them. I usually end up throwing them away after a while.

  5. We don’t recycle as much as we could. Our state charges 5 cents per pop can and then when you can take it to a recycle center, you get your 5 cents back.

    FOF-I drive and SUV and we only have 3 people in our family. UGH

  6. -Me Me ME ME I recycle!! I do! I was terrible though in college, but the minute I got my own place (no roommates) I was much better. It helps though because we take it out every week just like the trash it has its own container so soda cans, milk jugs, wine bottles, lots of wine bottles, and cans go in there. The rest is garbage. We don’t have to seperate except for paper. I just look at my kids, watch the environment, take a walk and think…yeah….I want my kids to have clean parks, and I want to watch Inconvenient Truth with them and know I did my part. Mrs., I think you are great though – and great for ‘outing’ yourself on the subject.

    My worst trait is I am terribly disorganized.

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