America Recycles Day is Next Sunday!
At the school where I used to teach, many of the students that I taught – and families that I worked with – didn’t recycle. I think many saw it as a status thing; to them, reducing and reusing was for people who didn’t have enough money to buy more, buy new, buy whatever they wanted. But what they failed to realize is that recycling shouldn’t have anything to do with economic prosperity – or politics. Recycling isn’t just for people with low income, and it isn’t a partisan issue.
Recycling is an acknowledgement that Earth has finite resources, and they’re not all for us. When we reduce what we buy, repair and reuse what we already have, and recycle items and materials that can be made into new and different things, we express compassion for all living beings and those not yet born.
Half of the plastics produced are for single-use, and while this might be necessary in the medical/healthcare field until a more eco-friendly alternative is established, this is not at all essential in other areas of society. Plastic utensils are unnecessary because metal, bamboo, and compostable utensils have already been developed and are widely available. Reusable water bottles are less expensive than the multiple disposable ones used in the same amount of time, and don’t leach the harmful chemicals into the water like the disposable plastic ones due. Furthermore, plastic production wreaks havoc on both the environment and human health. Communities with oil or petroleum refineries and plastic production plants see higher rates of pollution as well as higher rates of cancer and other diseases.
Many materials we use – from most plastics to cardboard, metal, and glass are recyclable, and yet not all locations accept these materials. If your local recycling center doesn’t take certain recyclable items, ask them why. Be part of the solution – not part of the problem; refuse to throw away anything that can and should be recycled and find a place that will take those materials. Always opt for reusable rather than unnecessary and harmful single-use plastics, and in so doing, you demonstrate that you care.