Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Are You Pitching In?

Remember when you could just throw away trash? 

In the "old days" sometimes it seemed like a burden just to throw it in a trash can, rather than pitching it out your car window driving down the road.  Then one day we all looked around and realized what we'd be doing... so we started taking our trash to the dump.  Remember the slogans like "Don't be a litter bug" and "Pitch In"?  Well, hopefully they are memories and not current efforts in your life, because society has moved on.  We moved on because...

Then, we started looking at the dumps... EWWW... we were making WAY more trash than the earth could eat.  And, we thought "there's gotta be a better way".

Well I am working on being green - sometimes I am greener than other times, I admit it.  But I work hard everyday to be a little better.  And, I am conscientious of not being wasteful, that these are lean times and that if I have something that is of value, I want to make sure it goes to the place where it can be of the greatest value.

Just tonight as I was searching through my trash I thought "I am so sick of this... you can't even just throw away your trash anymore..." and thus this post.  But it is worth it.

We tear off the pop tops to soup cans and soda cans (and sometimes rip off my nails doing it), to save to take for a collection at the daycare.  They send it to a company that uses the money from recylcing them to buy wheelchairs and assistive devices for children who need them.  There's another well known option of donating them to a charity that pays for chemo for cancer patients.  Both are very worth while; and both are worth ripping my fingernails since I don't seem to have enough cash to donate to them.. and even if I did, why throw away something of value to someone else?

And then I sort.  I sort the things that can go to curbside recycling - luckily that is about 60-75% of our trash each week (and by the way, that doesn't need to be sorted by paper/plastic/etc). 

Then, I pull out things like hangers and plastic store bags which must go to special places to be recycled (drycleaners and grocery stores usually have special bins for these). 

Oh, and then there's the JUNK.  You know junk?  It used to be good, but now it's just junk - to you, but not to everyone, so I take that stuff to my friend to sell on Ebay, and we usually donate any proceeds to a charity of our choice.

What I am left with is the gross, useless, value-less, disgusting, 'only my dog would appreciate this stuff' kind of trash, like disposable diapers and used kitty litter.  Yuk.  THAT stuff still goes in the regular trash - to the regular dump.  Sorry, Earth, Sorry Mankind... but it's only about 20-25% of my trash, and we do keep it to a minimum.

So, all this... it's work.  It is.  But it takes me less time than it does to shower each day, and in the grand scheme of things, me showering is less important (actually more harmful, truth be told) to the earth than finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.   (Sorry people, some sacrifices I am not willing to make - and I am NOT giving up my daily showers, it's the only thing that makes me feel human some days.)

If you're not already Pitching In, and participating in our collective efforts to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, it's time you started.  It's easier than you'd think....and it's worth it.

Please, just try it... it's not that bad.  Promise. Thanks!
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