I’m continuously reminded at how lazy we are. How careless we are. How little thought we put into something that should be second nature.
Now, given the major flood we just fought through, things in this town aren’t likely to make Martha Stewart jump up and down, clapping her hands. Maybe we just need some time to clean things up this spring. Maybe I’m jumping the gun, voicing my tree-hugging opinion too soon, but have you taken a look around our community as the snow has melted? It’s gross and pathetic. There isn’t a street I’ve driven down that doesn’t have some amount of trash lining the ditches.
It’s really sad. If it doesn’t bother you, it should.
How does all that litter exist? Ditches, parking lots and yards have so much trash that it doesn’t look like our city has a landfill — it looks like our city IS a landfill. Beer bottles, pop cans, Taco Bell wrappers, Frito Lay bags, miscellaneous clothing items. It appears as if our town had a raging party and left a non-existent host to clean it up.
Earth Day is today. Imagine if we dedicated ourselves as much to this national holiday as we did to Christmas – the time we take and the money we spend buying gifts for loved ones. Or Thanksgiving – the time spent baking, drinking and eating. What if everyone took Earth Day that seriously? Our communities would be sparkling!
The different levels of dedication to the “green movement” are astounding. A few of my friends join me in hanging on to their plastic water bottles until they can find a recycling bin – even if that means carrying it home. I bring reusable bags to the grocery store, and kick myself when I forget. Even then, I reuse or recycle the stupid plastic bags they give out like unwanted reading material at a fair.
Then there are the other guys. It’s as if they don’t know what recycling is – a totally foreign concept from which they’re excluded. A free pass to not have to make an effort in reducing their footprint, and they grip that pass like a $100 bill, utilizing it to the fullest by throwing their trash out the window – literally and figuratively.
I had to laugh when doing my morning routine at the gym last week – not because it was funny, but rather pathetic. I had just packed an empty 3-oz plastic bottle into my gym bag, dedicated to recycling the little guy. Not 30 seconds after, I heard a “clunk” in the garbage just feet away from me. A lady had thrown two extra large shampoo and conditioner bottles in the trash. In the trash!!! Come on, lady.
I stared down at the fully-recyclable bottles covering the entire bottom half of the garbage can and debated fishing them out and packing them in my own bag. I have done this before but have to draw a line somewhere or I’d spend all day separating other peoples’ trash. Instead, I grew angry at the lady’s absent minded toss and the facility we were at – why does such a commonplace not offer an option to recycle? Most bars don’t even recycle. Imagine the number of accumulated glass bottles by closing time on Saturday night. Ouch.
Excuses for not recycling shouldn’t exist. You’d be surprised how easy it is to bend down and pick up the cardboard Coke box lying in your yard. How convenient it is to use a reusable bag. How good it feels to have more materials in your recycling bin than in your trash can at the end of the week.
If you don’t believe me, try it once. It’s free!
Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.