Who Cares to Recycle?


Two days ago I wrote about how society, law, and the policies of our world contradict themselves.  Specifically, I wrote about how society asks us to not drive, to ride mass transit or bicycles or to walk, to stay off roads, minimize traffic and pollution, be more economical and environmentally conscious, etcetera.  That article turned about mid-way through into a rant about the mass transit organization. Even though perfectly applicable to the post, that portion of the post could have been made its own article.

In any case, after reflecting on my own post at a bus stop I came to realize even more about the contradictions in society in regards to environmentalism.

At the bus stop I noticed two garbage cans. They were both recyclables. The same recyclables, actually. They both were for glass and plastic and the like.  I thought to myself, “wow, our society does care about recycling and the environment”.

Then I noticed one problem: there was no trash bin for non-recyclables.

Everyone ended up putting all their garbage into the recycle bin, or else throwing it into the gutter.  The gutter was a mess indeed, but so was the recycling bin which obviously wasn’t just for recyclables.

So what do recycling companies do? How do they separate plastics from glass and whatnot?  If they are supposed to go together into one bin anyway then they obviously segregate them at the facility.  And if they can do that, why segregate recyclables from non-recyclables in the first place? Cant all garbage simply be separated at the company?

Suppose separation cannot be done. Okay, so the misuse and abuse of the garbage bin for the wrong  type of garbage completely undermines the recycling endeavor.  Do they end up sorting by hand or do they just disregard it all to the regular dump site?

You might be saying, “well, separating at the facility is such of a hassle, requires a huge infrastructure and a lot of equipment” etc.  Okay, I grant you that.  But the problem can be fixed easy enough simply by providing another garbage bin along side the recyclables for the non-recyclables. How hard would that be?

Here we go again, the capitalist profit motive is utterly undermining all endeavors to be economic, environmental, and the like.  We are Forced to Not Recycle.

I lived somewhere a half a year ago with a roommate who abused the garbage situation.  He would put regular trash in the recycling bin.  Of course, the “garbage men” wouldn’t take the bin until it was sorted.  My roommate simply started putting the regular trash at the bottom and the recyclables at the top.  The garbage men either didn’t notice or noticed when it was too late.  In any case, all the same non-recyclable garbage ended up at the same recycling plant anyway.  You cant tell me they don’t sort the garbage there. They have to.

Anyone who cares not to dump non-recyclables into the gutter or the wrong bin must hold onto it indefinitely until they come across a proper bin.  Where their garbage will inevitably end up at the same dump that half the garbage in the recycling bin will.

I am all in favor of environmentalism, don’t get me wrong.  I am not here to tell you its impractical or ineffective.  The last thing I want is for people to stop caring or trying.  I just wish the “system” that promotes it was more serious about achieving it.  As it stands, the only ones serious about achieving it are the people who recycle.

The companies who actually do the work are businesses just like any other, looking out for profit margins and positive image.  The agenda isn’t environmentalism, unfortunately.  The illusory goal is a means to an end, a means we the people believe is an end, an end which is not catered to.  Environmentalism is a front for a business, a facade that hides more capitalist greed, that caters to and appeases the philosophies of the environmentalist consumers.

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