Today is America Recycles Day – Dare You ASK?

Today, Thursday, November 15th, is America Recycles Day. Some 40 years ago, when I first started recycling, we had no plastics to recycle. We sorted our glass by color and took it to the local recycling center and the Boy Scouts held paper drives to collect all the newspaper. Now, decades later, I’ve learned that even dryer lint is being recycled.

I’m stymied by the folks who, despite the proximity of a recycling bin (perhaps 30 inches from their desk) cannot be bothered to distinguish their recyclables from their trash, insist on their inalienable right to dump stuff, and are, on paper, smart enough to know better. Perhaps it’s a lack of education in the costs of land filling and incineration.  Did you know, for example, that we create so much garbage here in the U.S. that we ship it abroad for burial? Perhaps it’s an externalization of cynicism. I’m sure you witness it. Now comes the tough part. Dare you ask your co-worker or housemate why? I recently encountered an objection to recycling at the supermarket. A man returning his bottles for their deposit value declared that he doesn’t believe in recycling. “They’re making money out of it.” This mysterious “they” interests me. Apparently folks don’t understand that “we” are paying for landfill and incineration. Perhaps exactly what happens to our trash should be taught in schools.

The other “Dare You Ask?” challenge I’m posing is around your electronics at work. Do you know exactly where they’re going? Do you know for a fact that your computers, printers, telephone gear and copiers are not being shipped abroad or headed for landfill or incineration? Will you take the challenge? Could you please find out where your organization’s gear is going, and if, for certain, your organization is using a certified recycler? If your organization is not using a certified recycle, chances are, your electronics not being handled properly – putting your organization and the environment at risk. If you need help on finding out how to find out, drop me a line. I’m very interested and eager to help spread the word.

So in honor of America Recycles Day, be brave. Dare to ask – and let me know what you find out. By this time next year, let’s hope we’re up for bigger challenges.

Please note: The opinions expressed here are solely mine.

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