I’m having a bit of a recycling dilemma. After putting out my recycling today I was feeling pretty good about myself. We had done some cleanup over the weekend and had put out three bins separated into glass, plastic and cardboard.
As I was walking back to the house, a thought struck me. Was I really doing my part in saving the environment, or was I just perpetuating the problem?
It’s all great and good to have a recycling program and I applaud it. We’ve travelled place in the states, where they don’t have these sorts of programs and you see all sorts of bottles (plastic and glass) alongside the road.
We are actually very fortunate to have someone take our recyclables and once put in the bin, I don’t have to think about them anymore. I’ve done my bit.
But have I really?
Well, for one thing, I don’t put anything that is compostable into the bins as we have a large compost bin that produces healthy soil for our garden. So… that’s a good thing.
On the other hand, I still buy food from the grocery store in plastic boxes and bottles, bags and other recyclable materials that make me feel good about doing so. Then I place all the packaging into the recycle bin and start the process all over.
Again… perpetuating the problem.
So am I really helping the environment or just encouraging an ongoing business model. One of demands based on consumerism.
You buy in plastic… you give to the recyclers… they create other plastic products, which you buy and the cycle continues.
Although this is more beneficial to the environment than throwing it in the garbage, I’m wondering if there was another way.
I know in Sweden they have recycling down to an art form. Sweden actually runs out of recycled materials and other countries send them theirs.
Sweden has found a way to turn these materials into energy for heating houses which are very beneficial in their cold winters.
India’s National Capital Region which includes the city of Delhi has banned disposable plastics. This included grocery bags and plastic cups.
India’s capital city, Delhi, has taken a courageous step toward fighting plastic pollution. In December 2016, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) voted to pass a law banning the use of all disposable plastics throughout the national capital region. This came into effect on January 1, 2017. Source
This is happening on a country scale, but what can I do differently?
At one point in time, I remember seeing a video on a woman (Lauren Singer) who was very conscious of the amount of waste she was put back into the environment went out of her way to do something about it.
After three years of changing her habits, all she had to show for it was a 16 oz mason jar filled with a few items. Amazing.
Now I’m not sure that totally zero is something that is going to happen at my house, but I do find that I’m starting to make some positive changes.
Like making some of my skincare just because I like the feel of it and I know what goes into it. Using my stainless steel bowls for baking rather than plastic.
Anything plastic that I have I find that I am reusing rather than recycling. Such as yogurt cartons for starting plants in the garden and replacing my water bottle with a glass one.
Compost (as I mentioned before) is a given as we have a garden and lots of fresh produce, so no need to buy vegetables in plastic bags. Which reminds me. I need to put my cloth bags back into the car after emptying the groceries today.
Small changes that don’t seem like much but I figure if I continue down this road, that I can keep some plastics out of the landfills.
…and even though this feels good to do my part, at the end of the day all I can say is that “I’m the problem and the cure.”