when jenn and i road tripped through the states recently, i was thoroughly depressed to see that my hometown is an exception when it comes to recycling and waste reduction. although far from perfect, we have a pretty darn good system here that allows us to recycle all kinds of crap for free. styrofoam, glass, motor oil, compost, tires, plastic bags, etc. all that stuff can be broken down and sold to companies who find it cheaper to use than new materials. so it’s win-win-win: free to get rid of; creates jobs and industry; and keeps the shit out of landfills.
but it’s like we live in a bubble here. as soon as you walk outside that bubble, no one gives a fuck about reducing waste.
we just spent 3 weeks driving through WA, OR, CA, and NV, and we only found a few places that accepted aluminum cans—that was it. everything else goes in the trash. and most places didn’t even have recycling for cans. so it ALL goes in the trash.
we saw private campsites with dumpsters overflowing with cans and bottles. if those campsites had a few bins for refundables, i bet they would make $5,000-$10,000 per year by returning them. and it’s all getting trashed. i couldn’t believe it.
but the plastic bag is one item that particularly bothers me because the results are huge and fairly obvious but still, no one gives a shit. here’s the average bags life cycle.
- most people throw them out after a single use.
- they go to the dump, but they’re light and get tossed around by the wind so they end up in the ocean.
- sunlight breaks them down into tiny pieces.
- fish mistake the tiny pieces for food and eat em.
- the fish get full of plastic which causes cancer and various other illnesses.
- we catch and eat the sick fish, giving ourselves cancer and various other illnesses.
that’s horrible. but everyone just keeps asking for plastic bags at the grocery store, tossing them when they get home, and ultimately killing marine life and ourselves.
when i was a kid and did the dishes at home, my dad made me wash the ziploc bags so we could reuse them. i hated it. washing them still sucks but now i hate it more when people don’t wash and reuse their ziploc bags and recycle them properly when the bag finally breaks.
i hope i die before the whole world goes to shit.