Obsessive ecology

When our family travels by car, bus or train, I usually bring a stack of unread newspapers to read through. Why look at old news? Because, even a couple weeks after the publication date, I usually find some story that I did not know about. It’s also when I finally discover that my Times Union blog has been excerpted its print edition.

Auto travel usually means eating at chain restaurants. We’ve discovered, unfortunately, that it’s easier to ascertain at those places whether the food on the menu is peanut-free; the Daughter has allergies. That’s how we discovered that Applebee’s, at least the one we stopped at in central Pennsylvania, had a notice that it could not promise that the food was prepared in a manner that was safe for her. We bemoan the fact that too many plastic milk cartons and salad bowls, e.g. get thrown in the trash because the locales don’t have a recycle bin.

The Wife and I are rather obsessive about recycling; we just can’t stand throwing away items that can be easily salvaged. All those newspapers I’m done with get thrown in the trunk of the car, or collected in my luggage. It will be recycled our next chance, at our destination or back at home.

Likewise, we will travel many miles with used plastic food containers from, say, McDonald’s, rather than tossing them in the trash. We’ll rinse them out, and then recycle them when the opportunity presents itself.

We can’t stand throwing away items that will end up in some city dump when that can easily be avoided. I see people put even returnable bottles and cans in the trash, which is literally throwing money away.

Happy Earth Day! Maybe, as someone said of me in another context, I AM a neurotic intellectual.

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4 thoughts on “Obsessive ecology”

  1. Happy dia de Gaia to you, Roger. Remember when recycling came to Binghamton? Maybe not. My sister (back when she was not a Tea Party Right is Right gal) was active with Citizen Action, which raised a stink about an incinerator proposed for the Conklin/South Side area. (Now I know she was more concerned about her property values than other people…)

    My folks bitched and moaned about the coming “plot” to make people go through their garbage. Dad had visions of throwing everything away and THEN having to paw through it and sort things out. Then his engineer’s mind took over, the bins arrived… and within two weeks, they were experts, both retired! If you had a pop can in your hand and even LOOKED at the garbage can, Mom would say, “Rinse well and toss in the bin!”

    Testament to how, when children of the Depression are confronted with something new that makes sense, they are among the most adaptable folks on earth. I used to work for Citizens’ Environmental Coalition in Buffalo, and all the employees (excepting myself) were vegan… and smoked, flicking their butts into the parking lot. “Do as I say…” Yuck. Amy

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  2. Here in New Zealand, we have recycle pickup once a month. And if you want to take recycling to the transfer station (read: local dump that is collected and redumped) it’s free.

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  3. Interesting pie chart you found for the article. We obsessively compost in our little back yard, which has reduced the amount of garbage we send to the landfill by more than half. I don’t know how many people do that but home composting wouldn’t show up on that or any graph.

    By composting I mean we throw our vegetable food waste in a heap and turn it over when I think about it maybe twice a year. Very minimal effort here. Eventually it decomposes and I usually spread it on the lawn.

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  4. I have the same obsession when it comes to people tossing things that could very easily be re-sold (or even given away) and returned to use. You would be surprised how much useful stuff gets tossed all the time, simply because a person doesn’t want it any more. I admit that I have a financial stake in this, since I do re-sell, but I also think of myself as “rescuing” items. Junk set out is coming up for our neighborhood. Chemo permitting, I’ll be out patrolling the set out piles.

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