Recycling: a big waste | VailDaily.com
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Recycling: a big waste

Landfills are an eyesore, sure.

But what about the overflowing bins of recycling? Plenty of users are making themselves at home at the Eagle Valley’s recycling bins. Some of those users are giant ravens and other scavengers, picking through the inevitable refuse that clogs the recycling bins.

Now matter how well-intentioned the purveyors of recycling appear, there is always trash in the recycling bin. Recycling bins look like trash cans, so those who can’t read English assume that’s where they should dump trash. Either that or it’s easier to use someone else’s, i.e. free, trash can instead of paying for a weekly pick-up.



Having a bunch of trash laying around in a landfill or having a bunch of trash laying around the recycling bin? Which is better?

I’ll tell you which is better: a bunch of trash around the recycling bin. Want to know why? Because it makes the “stewards of the Earth” feel better about living in a consumer society. It make the righteous indignation of the enviro-types even more resonant in their own minds. It makes the wannabe hippies in this valley feel better about driving their SUVs hundreds of miles to ride their bicycles. It makes the weekend-conservationists feel better about the 12 disposable diapers they threw away yesterday ” not to mention the thousands more they’ll throw away over two or so years.



It’s absurd to think that if Americans don’t recycle cardboard, aluminum cans and plastics, the Earth’s atmosphere will diminish any quicker. The reason why Americans care so much is because we feel guilty about being successful. For some strange reason, Americans feel weird about being No. 1. No matter what anyone says, the world still loves America and most of the world wishes they were here, despite what they may say out of jealousy.

At least having the recycle bin available, now matter how effective or worthwhile it may be, makes the “greenies” in our midst able to throw away their plastic water bottles in the trash with impunity. Having this in mind makes the “environmentally friendly” folks not feel so bad when they bag up their groceries from the super-duper-discount store, and then put them in the trash. Or, fill those bags with trash, THEN throw them away. A friend from Switzerland told me those plastic grocery bags we continuously throw away cost $2 each in her home country. They reuse them for months. Not in America, buddy. We get them doubled up when we buy soda pop in 2-liter increments, creating yet another piece of garbage for the landfill …. er, uh, recycling center.

Recycling bins allow a little Karma to come back to those who water their lawns incessantly, enjoy golf courses and drive three blocks to get an extra-large coffee slushy from Starbucks. Oh yeah, that cup gets thrown away too, not recycled.



By and large, recycling is a big happy-feely-touchy subject that some really support and others totally ignore.

How much energy and resources are we really saving? Take the costs of paying someone a good wage to handle “recyclable materials” (akin to a seasoned garbage man, but probably more) add the costs of fuel, sorting, electricity to turn the trash into something else, acids to remove soy ink from newsprint and grinders for cardboard, and you’ve got a wash. What’s worth more, the belief that recycling makes a difference or the extra resources to do so?

Landfills are ugly. But when the world runs out of resources, where do you think the mines will open? Landfills will become the “natural resource” of the future, just like the prehistoric critters we now pump into our cars.

Web Editor Austin Richardson may be reached at 748-2911 or arichardson@vaildaily.com.


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