Sunday, September 16, 2012

Civic Duty - Making my trash quota

Tomorrow is trash day. I was getting the trash ready for The Boy to take out to the street when an inner rant came bubbling to the surface. I was sorting my recyclables, which means breaking down all those boxes that I have been carelessly tossing into the bin all week. Not my favorite task, but one I make necessary by my laziness and procrastination.

Actually, the rant had been fomenting in the back of my brain since earlier today when I was peeling carrots and potatoes.  The reason for this will become clear.

See, the fascist environmentally-conscious town government has decreed that they will collect recyclables on a weekly basis, rather than the previous schedule of every other week. If your trash bin is unaccompanied by the requisite recycle bin, they will leave your trash at the curb and drive on by. I really cannot afford to keep my trash an extra week, they've already limited me to one trash barrel,  but I don't always have much for the recycling bin.  The problem then becomes finding enough things to throw in the recycle bin to convince them I really tried.  Do you realize how difficult that can be?

For instance, if you make real mashed potatoes out of real potatoes, there is no empty cardboard box  to flatten and recycle. You only get that if you buy those dehydrated potato flakes. If you buy whole carrots that just came out of the ground, then there's no can to toss in the bin.  Vegetable peelings are not recyclable except as compost.  They won't fill the bin.

So basically, if you want them to take your trash, you've got to buy more processed and packaged foods. The kinds of food the government keeps telling us are bad for us, the ones they say are making us obese.  But we've got to buy them and eat them, because we owe it to the environment to recycle all those boxes and cans.

And we've got to use more water and more energy to heat that water so we can wash those cans out.  And since we've got to keep the paper and cardboard separate from the plastics and glass and cans, we've got to ask for paper sacks at the grocery store so we'll have them available to pack our recyclable paper goods in. We've got to cut more trees down to make those paper sacks if we want to recycle and save those trees.

Maybe I am the only one who sees this as a vicious circle.  Maybe, but I don't think so. When the town announced the more frequent recycling, they expressed hope that the additional money from selling the recycling material weekly might make it less expensive to recycle in the first place, something that costs them more to do than they get out of it. Our tax dollars at work - paying more people to drive more trucks using more gas, expelling more carbon so they can pick up more recyclable goods that aren't worth very much so they can lose money on the deal.

And, for our part, we've all got to use more energy, waste more water, buy more fattening processed foods and cut down more forests to provide enough paper bags to put the recyclables in.

I think the Earth was better off before they started trying to save it.

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