One project that is near to my heart and sometimes extracts a donation from my wallet is clean-up of plastic products from the oceans.
Plastic is one of the most serious environmental hazards of our time, and much of it finds its way into the oceans. There it follows the natural currents and accumulates as islands. Along the way it takes out, or entraps, numerous ocean species.
We use far too much plastic and discard far too much of it without reusing and recycling it. And with that bad habit we encourage massive more environmental damage in the needless manufacture of new plastic products.
It means extracting more oil—plastic being a petroleum product—not only for the product but for its manufacture.
If there’s one thing that should be at the core of our reusing and recycling efforts, in my opinion, it’s plastic!
So, I was shocked when I recently received a memo that blue bags were no longer allowed in the recycling bin.
Huh? Weren’t blue bags created to package recycling materials?
The memo went on: Not only would blue bags no longer be accepted, but no plastic bags of any kind would be accepted, period.
I’m on strata council, so I raised it at the next meeting. What shall I do if I can’t use plastic? Since I dispose of volumes of paper, should I just be throwing them loosely into the open bin, where they will get soaked and turn into mush by the time the pickup people come? I’m not supposed to put them into cardboard boxes, because boxes all supposed to be flattened before going in.
So, my paper is supposed to turn into mush and the product most necessary on this planet to be recycled doesn’t go into recycling.
Coated cardboard never used to be allowed in recycling either. But now, it’s suddenly OK. I wonder what changed. (So I’m wondering whether I should tape all my loose paper to the underside of coated carboard boxes so that it won’t as quickly turn into mush—but will the recycling bin accept tape?)
Glass jars are also supposed to be recycled–it would be an absolutely silly waste of the manufacturing process to use them only once and then discard them. But they’re no longer allowed into the recycling bin either.
Then there’s the organics. Carboard, of course, doesn’t go into there, it goes into recycling. (At least something goes there!) Unless, it’s a pizza box. Then it goes into the organics, since it might have some food residue.
But, of course, only some paper goes into recycling.
I previously had a collection of old National Geographics. I thought they’d be worth something to a collector. But, that turned out to be wrong. No used bookstore wanted them. So, sadly, I took them to the recycling depot.
No! The recycling depot would not accept them, either. National Geographics cannot be recycled; they have too much ink.
Even more sadly, I had to dump them into the trash bin.
Please, someone, help me find the logic in this!
Someone should start a recycling company, one that actually wants the products that should be recycled.
In the meantime, at least we’ll keep the ocean clean-up crews employed for awhile longer.
At least, that’s how I see it . . .