Recycling Madness

IMG_0145I look forward each Wednesday to placing the trash bins in front of my driveway knowing that at 6 Am the very next morning they will be lifted, cleared and then re-situated back in front of my garage for another week of garbage collection. It’s a cycle. I fill them up, they empty, then I fill them up again. Never ending! I have three bins total. One brown, one green and one black. Here in CA, the brown is for solid waste, the black for garden waste and the green for recycle. Funnily enough, I have watched the garbage truck arrive on many occasions and I am always intrigued by the way collections take place. In CA, the yard waste (black bin) is all separated and taken to a special plant that converts dead branches, flowers and grass into wood chips and compost, or so I’m led to believe. This truck is a truck that has only one task, that task being the removal of yard waste alone. The second truck that arrives about twenty minutes later has a different task. It’s purpose is to empty the green and brown bins simultaneously and drop their contents into two separate sides of said truck, one presumes? Presumption doesn’t always lead to curiosity, however in my case, I am curious as ever what exactly happens to each side and interested not only in finding out where they take all the crap I waste, but also what exactly happens to the rubbish I put in my recycle bin.

Recycle is such a strange concept to me. What do you place in your recycle bins? Has anyone ever told you what is allowed to be recycled and what isn’t? Are the items you recycle then recycled into some other form? Do you really care?  All reasonable questions, don’t you think? I know for a fact that a plastic bottle isn’t supposed to be placed in a recycle bin unless it has its top removed. Can you see it now? All these bottles showing up at some recycle plant and 4000 workers standing there unscrewing tops! Well I never take the top off the bottle before I throw it, do you? I don’t know anyone who does. And what about the items that your know should be out in the recycle bins but you decide at that particular moment in time that you can’t be bothered so you chuck them in the regular bins? What happens to them? They sit and rot on the dump site with everything else, but do you ever feel guilty? I don’t, but maybe I should. My points are all relevant and lead me to an experience that I had this past weekend inside Terminal C at Newark International Airport in New York.

One would presume that a garbage bin that has two different slots on its top, one for bottles and cans and one for paper, both clearly marked, would also have two separate bags inside, one reclaiming said bottles and cans and the other for the waste paper. Wrong! Take a look at the pictures I took on Saturday. Two slots, one bag. Obviously no one gives a damn! If our government-run organizations don’t care, as seen in these pictures, then why should we? Are we all being conned? Are we paying more money for garbage collection to our local authorities just to see it squandered on something quite unrelated to our garbage collection? Does recycling actually take place? If so where does it happen and who can confirm what happens in those plants? What do they do with the crap that’s put into these recycle bins that doesn’t belong there and who has the responsibility of deciding? If we all just stopped recycling, would it make any difference whatsoever to our planet, a planet that seems to be in steep and immediate decline? I was always led to believe that recycling was the best way and possibly the only way forward to avert the inevitable global catastrophe that is looming. Climate change, enhanced by excess CO2 gasses and Methane, all set free in massive tonnage from the garbage dumps we have created around the planet. Although not solely responsible for our issues of course, they are contributory in the damage the planet is receiving each day. Now, with the advent of recycling, weren’t we all supposed to partake and assist in aiding to the recovery of our planet? Hasn’t that been the ‘buzz’ word for the last two decades? Recycle and help mother earth get better?

It would appear from my discovery, your participation, or lack of, and the indeterminable fact of whether the earth will be able to survive with or without a recycle program, that our government, our leaders, the people who themselves are supposed to lead by example, just don’t give a flying fuck about anything other than throwing out the garbage the way it has always been thrown. Everything in one bag and off to the dump! When we run out of room, when the landfill is completely full, when space is at more of a premium that it is today, are we all going to look back at the bins inside Newark airport and say, ‘lazy bastards, you should have had two bags in that bin and you have enhanced global warming because of your stupidity?’ NO, we won’t. Why? Because we to, 99% of us, also don’t give a flying fuck what happens after we deposit our shit inside a garbage can, as long as the guy shows up next Thursday morning to remove it to someplace we will never care to see or never care to visit.

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