Monday, October 14, 2013

Recycling Continues To Fail

Behold a Key West recycling bin.

I have no explanation why people would throw trash in recycling and leave their trash an empty:

Nowadays recycling is pretty simple in Key West where we have single stream. Clean your cardboard plastic and metal and dump it in one container. That's all it takes. Plastic bags are not recyclable, nor is food or dog shit or rags and cotton waste. How hard is that?

Impossible for a lot of people who live at water's edge on a small vulnerable island very close to nature. I'm not one to imagine that we will reverse global warming or gain Utopia by virtue of recycling, and maybe the whole program is nothing more than a feel good measure for a population that generates twenty five percent of the worlds trash (while generating one third of the world's economic activity I might add!). Nevertheless it is a mark of the lack of any kind of social commitment or discipline that recycling bins overflow with common-or-garden trash every single day across this town. Wherever they be from.

Waste Management finally got the much desired blue recycling bins and at the same time the count commission scrapped requirements for competitive bidding for the waste contract which sounds at best unethical and at worst illegal so one wonders what kind of legal eagles are advising the County. Perhaps that was why when I wrote an email to waste management enclosing he first photograph asking what happens when recycling gets polluted, my reply was a form letter of no apparent substance or decipherable meaning.

I remember decades ago when a friend told me of an article she had read about how people in New Zealand had to clean and crush cans before they threw them out and we wondered at such strict trash requirements. Since then I have taken to recycling as second nature without much of a thought about it, except when I see stuff that makes me wonder, once again, about the self interest of my fellow humans. Washington State is a marvel of disciplined trash disposal, and if the San Juan Islands can do it, why can't we?

It's not that hard to do, and if it does no discernible good as critics claim, it does no visible harm either as far as I can tell.

It's time Key West got serious about recycling, as serious as it got recently on the subject of rejecting bigger cruise ships.


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