Please Recycle (Please!)

recycle

Here in the American South, there is something of a flippancy in regards to the environment. Our cities aren’t particularly clean, recycling facilities are few and far between, and there seems to be quite a bit of litter on the side of the roads. The cars we drive are old and consume a lot of gas, people scoff at the mention solar power, and we rejoice when a new factory comes to town.

This is slightly ironic, because we also take tremendous pride in our lakes and forests. We have some of the best fishing in the world, and people come from far and wide to hunt the whitetail deer in the state.

I like my world.  I want my grandchildren to live not in a world featured in a dystopian movie, but in a world dominated by wildlife and nature.  But not everyone around me shares my interest in it.

I am the only one I know who recycles. Me, and the people I’ve convinced. Everybody else simply throws their recyclable goods into the trash can to end up buried in landfills or trashed into the ocean. On their way, they’ll kill wildlife and mess up the ecosystem.

I’m not trying do be dramatic, but we humans underestimate our strength. I’ll bet your immediate family goes through 1,000 plastic bottles a year. Mine certainly does. So here’s some easy things I want you to do in relation to plastic bottles. You don’t have to be an activist, just make a few subtle changes to your ways.

Collect your plastic bottles.
This is the single most important thing you can do to help the environment. Get another trash can besides the one you use to throw things away in. Use this one exclusively for recycling. Then, when it gets full, take the bag to your nearest recycling collection center. Here’s where you can search for recycling centers in Alabama. Use the great Google to find your state’s collection center. Alternately, take advantage of your community’s curbside pickup recycling service if your lucky enough to have one.

Use Refillable Containers.
Tumblers are pretty cheap these days. Save your money and instead of buying bottled water, fill it up at home and using water fountains. Many businesses now have special sanitary fountains just for this purpose. If you don’t like doing the dished, buy 5 of them; one for each day of the work week. It also helps with health because you won’t be tempted to buy a soda.

Stop Buying Bottled Water
The thing about the economy. If you stop buying stuff, they’ll stop selling stuff. If they stop selling stuff, stuff stops getting produced. Cut the head off of the snake and stop letting these miniature environmental disasters get produced in the first place. Bottled water should be reserved for outdoor work can camping trips. If you don’t like the taste of your faucet water, buy a water filter. I know you can afford one if you can buy bottled water every week.

We need to make large, sweeping changes to our cultural habits. Still, I believe we can do this.

[Thanks Conner Carroll for the suggestion.]

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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.