I've gotten quite a few emails lately about two specific pieces that I have up on the blog, the National Recycling Day that happened yesterday, and the Dave's Bag Contest. So I thought Id take a moment and throw something up about them here rather than email back to everyone.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
On the recycling front, I mentioned way early in the process that I am not pushing recycling as a solution, and in fact, find it to be somewhat of a crutch. Now before everybody gets their knickers all in a bunch, give me a chance to explain.
I am pro recycling and I think recycling is a great thing. Compared to throwing things "away" recycling is a far better way to go. Having said that, there are two problems with recycling. First and foremost is that most people don't do it. From the numbers that I have seen, roughly 10% of everything that is recyclable is recycled. That means that 90% of that stuff ends up in a landfill anyway, so buying recycleable stuff clearly does not make the difference it should and we as a society, need to step up to the plate a bit.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I think that a lot of people use recycling as a crutch, meaning that they feel that by buying something that they will recycle, they aren't putting any stress on the environment and are doing the right thing. But they aren't. They are still using resources, using energy, and may not even be recycling what they can in the long run. Beyond that, many things, like plastic water bottles, aren't actually recycled but downcycled (water bottles get turned into park benches and the like) so new water bottles need new plastic.
Basically, recycling is better than throwing it "away" and never buying that packaging in the first place is better than recycling. keep yourself out of the process to begin with and you've really achieved something. Having said all of that, there are many who are not as far along in the process towards waste minimization as some of us, and for them, its important to let them know where they can recycle and what so that 10% becomes 100%, thus that post.
On the Dave's Bag front, a number of people have complained that this is consumption oriented which i not the message behind what I'm after. While on a level that is correct, my hope is that whoever wins the bag(s) will use their contents, thereby limiting their waste, and thus, become ambassadors of waste minimization in their own communities. So while the bags do speak to consumption, imho, they are the lesser of two evils, by a long shot.
Anyhoo, hope that answers some questions. Off to feed the worms and perhaps sing to them off key