Time for my blog-confessional again. This time, my social sin is willful non-recycling. That's right: I make my own marshmallows and soup stock so I don't have to eat weird chemicals, but I don't recycle. Unless there is a designated "Recycle Here" trash can right in front of me, I chuck everything in the regular garbage. In that past, that was my own private sin, but now I'm an elementary-school pariah.
It started last year, when all the children in Kindergarten were sent home with a "Recycling Pledge" form, which parents were supposed to help them fill out and return, stating that they would responsibly separate out the recyclables from the regular trash, and dispose of them in a friendly, green manner. Only by signing this pledge could my five-year-old prove to the elementary-school population that she isn't a river-polluting, baby-seal-clubbing monster. And I refused. Because I try not to lie, and I try to teach my child the same. I'm just not doing it.
I personally think that the benefits of recycling are eaten up by the resources used to complete the process. In my county there are dozens of recycling drop-off sites; they're all over the place. But my city also has a designated recycling collection crew, with it's own sort-it-as-you-go truck. At least one truck, but I assume more. So we've built extra vehicles, to burn extra gas, while we pay extra guys (which, incidentally, is the only benefit I see) to do what ORDINARY WASTE MANAGEMENT DOES ANYWAY. That's right. A lot of the trash collected at your curb gets recycled in the regular waste management plant. Glass is shaken out and sold to glass buyers. Plastic is picked out for different buyers to be recycled. Paper and cardboard are bundled and sold to paper mills. Metal is sucked up on big magnets and, you guessed it, sold to companies that will recycle it. The biodegradable stuff gets mulched up for compost. What's left is pretty much disposable diapers and old Star Wars action figures.
So I avoid looking the kid wearing the silly foam Recycling Can costume in the eye when I drop my daughter off at school. I find something very interesting in my pocket that must be examined right now when we pass the aluminum can drop-box at the entrance to the school property. I deftly change the subject when my daughter mentions some recycling campaign being promoted this month. And I dread April 22.
Look. I do my best to avoid genetically modified foods, although sometimes I just don't know. I (sometimes) buy responsibly raised meat and dairy. Only sometimes, because, having actually done side-by-side comparisons, I fail to appreciate the difference in taste. And that stuff is expensive, yo. But I'm not making a second job of throwing away the milk bottles and the tomato cans. Because someone else already has a first job of that. I'm not even sorry.