Take this trash and ship it

Given the word association test, “green” no longer prompts a response of, say… “orange”.  It’s more likely to prompt words like “recycling”.

I’d say it’s a great sign of our current environmental awareness, but what aggravates me is that more and more naysayers want you to say that the “green movement” and recycling is simply a waste of time.

For me, that’s unthinkable and I could never subscribe to this small-minded belief.  I have a hard time understanding how there can be a negative side to reusing, reducing and recycling.  Is it selfishness?  Is it laziness?  Is it the unwillingness to take any responsibility?  (The guy at Blockbuster once tried to convince me that the importance and value of recycling is actually “made up!”  Don’t ask me how this conversation got started, but I nearly passed out… “made up?… really?)

But recycling is being challenged and those naysayers want you to believe that it’s all a selfish act of capitalism. Some even suggest burning is a better option. (oh yea.  Burning.  THAT’S going to help.)

Well, I’m a naysayer of the naysayers.  Here are a few facts to keep out of your recycling bin.

Fact: Our “trash”, including scrap paper, metal and plastics, is one of the US’s largest current exports to China.  They purchase our recyclable trash because they don’t have enough raw materials to meet their demand.  In 2002, the US exported $1.2 billion worth of recyclables.  In 2006, the export grew to $6.1 billion. (Excellent!)

Fact: Recycling requires 90% less energy than making aluminum cans from ore or plastics from oil, plus it creates less waste and pollution.  (Argue with THAT Blockbuster guy!)

So who is capitalizing on this system?  I’d say we are.  I’d say our environment is capitalizing.  I’d say our long-term existence is depending on it.  Do you agree?

If we keep pumping our earth and environment with toxic trash, harmful gasses and chemical pollutants, without regard to future generations, how do we expect that there WON’T be negative effects.  I have kids and I refuse to let them bear the burden of my selfishness and laziness.  Sorry if that upsets anyone, but for most of us, recycling is very doable.

Being green is not an issue of “Saving the Earth”.  No matter what kind of havoc we thrust upon our environment, the earth WILL survive, but will we?  We’re moving toward kicking ourselves out of the only home we have and I’m not about to sit around, irresponsibly, and debate that answer to that question.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”   — Native American Proverb

(An edited version of this post was published on BlogHer)

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"Going green" has always been a part of my daily life. It began, as a little girl, when I helped my mom gather the recyclables and deliver them to a recycling center. It continues today, as a mom myself, when I teach my own children those same responsible virtues.

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4 thoughts on “Take this trash and ship it

  1. I’m with you Doreen! How anyone can argue that recycling and reducing your consumption and waste is not helping is beyond me! We each have a responsibility to do our part and we know that small things make a big impact. Just the other night my husband asked me if we were to try and measure how much waste we’ve cut down by not using paper napkins and paper towels and plastic bags, would it fill up a room, and I bet it would! And that’s just one family who has been doing this consistently for 1 year. Imagine how that will add up. And for our kids to grow up with these values and pass it along. It’s immeasurable.

    I hope “Blockbuster Guy” has seen the error of his ways — and all the other naysayers out there!

    OneGreenMommys last blog post..A Green Trike for Your Tike

  2. Wow, there are a lot of things “made up” out there, but how recycling could be made up is a new one.
    It’s not hard to recycle and/or re-use items. It’s pretty simple and rather than just putting more and more trash and pollution into the environment, everyone could at least recycle, donate, re-use, etc and thus put a little less pollution out there.
    As OneGreenMommy said, “…small things make a big impact.”
    Our children learn from the example we set and I want mine to value their environment and help take care of and preserve it.

  3. OneGreenMommy – I couldn’t agree more. I feel like it’s my duty as a “resident” of this planet to NOT take advantage and expect the “she” will just take care of herself!

    Tara – it is sad that there are those that say they “just don’t buy it”… but those people exist. And I’m like you… I believe we do need to set an example for our kids. As the quote says…we borrowing this planet from them! And I refuse to be a part of the problem… the problem does exist!

  4. Pingback: » Environmentalists = communists. - Mom Goes Green

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