Monday, May 4, 2009

Thoughts on Recycling

Everywhere you look these days, recycling is thrown in your face. I think basically it's a good idea but if we replace everything we own with 'green' products, where do the older items go? They fill up our landfills and/or ditches. I don't think people should be so quick to get rid of their older items. I think we should use them until they wear out unless they're absolutely the worst energy consumers. Do you really need the latest electronics, bamboo bedding, flooring, or clothing, ? What are you doing with your old things? Some things like reuseable shopping bags and water bottles are great. I see plastic bags all the time caught in trees and weeds and they never degrade. Even the ones that are supposed to be biodegradable only do so when exposed to sunlight and that's not going to happen if they're buried in landfills. So stop and think before getting rid of useable items just to replace them with something 'green'.

Here's something else to think about. If a label says 'recycled paper', people assume that it's been used by consumers, sent to a recycling center, then made into new paper. The only time this is absolutely true is if it's also labeled 'post-consumer'. Otherwise, it may be made from paper cuttings on the mill floor which are added back to the paper pulp and then labeled 'recycled'. This is something paper mills do all the time and it doesn't save any resources. When they label it 'recycled', people think they're helping to save trees. It sounds good and it's perfectly legal.

1 comment:

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

My son and I just read a great book, 101 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SAVE THE EARTH BEFORE YOU'RE 12 (we haven't reviewed it yet).

One of the terms we learned was "greenwashing" which lead to a great discussion about being aware of eye-catching labels and misleading wording.