Welcome to another week. And, hopefully, a good one. I'm going to start this week off with a post that has been rolling around inside my head for a while now. The idea is to do a series of "Why I..." posts to talk about why I do some of the things that I do. Sort of a way to explore who I am and how the things I do shape me as a person. Just yell at me if you get bored. But I thought it might be a neat little writing exercise for myself.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about why I recycle. Recycling is definitely not something that is expected of a person around here. I live in a small, southern town. A place where locals love their paper plates and plastic cups. A place of breathtaking natural beauty, with plenty of litter beside the roads. (Popular belief is, as terrible as this sounds, that it gives the inmates something to do.) There is only one recycling center for the entire county and no one seems to care if the plastics are sorted correctly.
So why do it? Why have three trash cans, a basket and a couple of reusable totes to separate all of my throw aways? Why break down every cereal, rice, frozen entree, etc. box that I open? Why rinse every soda can and milk jug and sauce jar? Why?
Simply because I think its a good thing to do. It makes sense to me. Not because I think that any tiny effort that I put forth is going to save the world. Not because I feel like I am better than anyone else who doesn't recycle. Not because it is what I am "supposed" to do. But just because I consider it simple science. Sort of like warming up the leftovers from last night's supper. Or passing down your clothes when you don't wear them anymore. It just makes sense to not let it go to waste.
My family does not recycle. I could count on one hand (with plenty left over) all of my friends who recycle. And that's okay with me. It would be nice if they did, but they don't. And I don't hassle them about it. But, when they drink a Pepsi at my house, they know to rinse it out before tossing it in the appropriate bin.
And what have I learned from recycling? Well, I have learned that two people can go through a whole lot of "stuff". I have learned that a weeks worth of meals can yield a nice pile of cardboard. I have learned that life would be simpler if all plastics were either #1 or #2. And I have gained a childlike curiosity about whether packages are made from recycled material.
What it all comes down to for me is that I think it's pretty cool that people can take the things that I have already used and break them down and use them again for something else. I am no eco superhero. I am no green goddess. I am just a girl who grew up wearing hand-me-downs, who likes to see things realize their full potential. People and plastics alike. :)