Friday, June 1, 2018

Becka and Recycling

I found these on my walk to work yesterday morning. I'm not sure who Becka is, but she has an admirer -- and one who can spell and properly use a contraction. Don't let that one get away, Becka!

Did anyone catch this article in The New York Times about recycling? It basically confirmed my suspicion that a lot of "recycled" trash actually isn't recycled at all -- particularly now that China has stopped accepting much of our waste for processing. I think recycling is mainly a balm that makes us feel better about our vast overconsumption of resources, but has less practical value than we believe. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. But we should try, foremost, to consume less stuff -- less packaging, fewer plastic straws, fewer pieces of disposable cutlery.

As I told Mr. Pudding on his blog, when he lamented the overuse of plastics recently, I think a lot of plastic items should simply be made illegal. Bottled water was unheard of until the 1980s -- there's no reason we need all that waste in our landfills. Bring back water fountains! Bring back bars of soap! Sell vegetables without cling-film or plastic trays! Seriously, there's so much plastic we could eliminate and scarcely notice the consequences -- unless we're working in the beverage or soap industries.

It's weird to me that there's so little market for recycled glass. It seems like glass would be one of the easiest things to recycle. But glass waste bothers me less than other types of waste -- at least it's basically just sand, and will go back to being sand (in about a million years). It seems harmlessly inert. But I'm no expert.

As for Roseanne Barr, I'm sorry to see her show get cancelled, but mainly because it affects all the people working around her. I'm not particularly sorry for Roseanne herself. We don't get that show in England (as far as I know) and I didn't really watch the '80s version, either, but it always struck me as a fairly open-minded program. And I remember laughing at her dry one-liners on Hollywood Squares. How she got where she is, in terms of her retrograde viewpoints, I'm not sure.


  1. At last I've found someone who agrees with my thoughts on recycling.
    I watch all of the neighbours coming out and fiddling about putting a tiny bit of paper in this bin and a bottle in that and shake my head. Generally I do not recycle. I put larger cardboard and milk bottles in the proper bin but generally I put most things in my kitchen bin and they go into the larger bin on the side of the street that seems to take EVERYTHING including dog waste, work that one out.
    Most people are sheep believing everything the Government tells them.
    I once wrote to the council asking why the bins were made of plastic when we were trying to get rid of it, and what happened to them when they were replaced. Needless to say they didn't reply.
    The manufacturers need to change all packaging but that would lose them money wouldn't it? and the government setting target so far in the future is a waste of time. We all know that targets very rarely get reached.
    Rant over, I rest my case.

  2. Heck! That was some rant by Briony!

    It is very disheartening to learn that well-intentioned recycling can frequently be a waste of time as there are not enough systems in place to process the collected materials. Perhaps the trouble is that business is all about profit and loss and if it is judged that there'll be no profit in recycling then there just won't be the will to do it. The duty to recycle should rise above marketplace concerns and successive governments across the world have failed to engineer the kind of legislation that would bolster effective recycling.

    With hope in my heart I shall continue to divide all of our waste and put it in the appropriate bins or into my own compost bins and I shall do this in spite of the well-founded cynicism that surrounds recycling.

  3. There are so many tentacles to the environmental issues. Yes, plastics are bad and we depend on them far more than we should. At the same time, there are costs to producing alternatives, which is one reason plastics were developed in the first place. Paper and cardboard are made from the planet's rapidly diminishing woodland resources, and both paper and glass use great amounts of energy and water. Transporting plastic items is far less costly and produces less pollution (transportation is the greatest producer of air pollution).

    In Canada at least, we are starting to go in the direction of recycling plastics into useful and durable products such as rigid building materials, and burning waste (including plastics) to recapture the energy in the form of heat for public buildings.

    It's a complicated issue but we need to get the conversations started!

  4. If Roseann's show were to have premiered this year instead of in 1989, her daughter Becky would be called Becka.

    In addition to this contribution to today's discussion re: the evolution of the nick name for Rebecca that ties into two of Steve's themes for the day, I'd like to add that we can choose not to buy goods that are packaged in plastic. I objected to the enormous amount of plastic packaging for the flea and ticks meds I buy for my cats at Costco so I found a way to buy them in their plain cardboard box as God intended. Of course, I have to drive further to get to the other store, but my car is a hybrid.

    But then again, the flea and tick meds are imported from France, no doubt flown in on jets across the Atlantic. There is o end to our guilt in destroying this planet, is there?

  5. I feel so hopeless in the face of it all. Unless we each dramatically cut down on our energy usages, I don't think there's any hope and who of us is ready to do that? HOW do we do that? Giving up straws and trying to use less plastic packaging and so forth seems so futile compared to the big picture. It finally occurred to me the other day that if I don't put my produce in plastic bags it's fine and what's the difference? And yet- is that going to help anything? And a lot of the produce already comes in plastic. And that is barely scratching the surface of anything. I run my AC. You bet I do. I drive to town and even though I have a hybrid car, it still uses gas.
    I put my supposed recyclables into the appropriate bins at the garbage terminal down the road and I throw all of our food waste to the chickens. But again- does that help or not?
    I don't have any damn answers. I will just continue to feel guilty and do the best I can which is probably what a lot of us do. But I tell you this- I get so upset with people getting on their high horses about things like straws (which of course are not really insignificant) as if that one issue is going to make all of this go away while we allow our president to get rid of fuel requirements on cars.
    Okay. I'm done.

  6. I did see that article and I felt pretty much the same as you. I should see if I can tour a recycling center some day.

  7. I've just been lamenting about plastic and the cost to the planet and our fellow creatures. Roger and I were having a discussion just the other day about what our parents and grandparents did without plastics. It's doable. I wash and reuse all of our plastic veggie bags. We shop where the fruits and vegetables are not packaged at all. But then I think about what our small attempts at environmental sanity means to the planet overall. Not much. Still, we try, we really really try. I also applaud the correct use of contractions by Becka's admirer. Well done!

  8. I still use bar soap though I think my generation is the last to use it predominately. I know my daughter doesn't nor do the grandkids. but then my sister makes the soap I use so no packaging there at all. if I have a choice between a glass container or plastic, I'll buy the product in glass. I have a steel water bottle that I use, or maybe it's aluminum which is problematic too. the aluminum that is. I'd rather see soda outlawed in plastic bottles than water. so much more of that.

    as for Rosanne, I watched her first show, thought it was funny but have not watched the re-do because of who she came to be. I really don't understand the outright ugliness some people have towards others and strangers at that.