Before I can start boasting a "greener than thou" attitude, let me tell you I still drive a Buick Regal, with less than stellar gas mileage. There are a couple of reasons for this. Number one, I can't afford a hybrid, even though my car Green Grandma car magnet would look more appropriate on one. Number two, I don't want to give up my heated leather seats. Now that's rather self-centered, isn't it?
The bottom line, which I refer to from time to time, is that going green doesn't require a total change of lifestyle. Not everyone is going to turn into an Ed Begley, Jr. While I admire his devotion and lack of hypocrisy, I'm not quite willing to go to those extremes. Does that make me a hypocrite? I hope not.
If everyone did their part, even in small ways, it would make a huge difference. If more people would use reusable bags, rather than taking home a dozen plastic bags with each trip to the grocery store, there wouldn't be a need for laws banning plastic bags. After all, don't we have enough laws already?? The same goes for plastic water bottles. Banning them is not the answer. While I use filtered water at home and often carry a BPA-free plastic container of it with me, there are times when I need to buy a bottle of water when I'm out. If bottled water is no longer available, what are we supposed to do? Buy a plastic bottle of soda? Now that sounds like a healthy alternative! When will common sense return to the U.S.?
There is a major complaint that plastic bottles are filling up the landfills. But, folks, plastic water bottles are recyclable. The problem comes down to a few different things.
- People are too lazy to recycle. That may seem a bit judgmental, but it's true. I've watched as people, who I thought had sense, have tossed large plastic containers in the trash because there wasn't recycling nearby and they'd have to, gasp, carry it home to recycle it. Which brings me to my second point.
- Too many businesses, churches, shopping malls, parks, etc. do not have recylcing receptacles or recycling pickup. Why is it that the citizens can be fined for not recycling in their homes, but can toss as much recyclable materials away when they are shopping, at work or enjoying a day at the park? What is that about??
- And back to my original point: People are too lazy to recycle.
So, what's the answer? How do we rouse people from their comfort zones and encourage them to recycle? First, we can do it by example. Second, we can offer to recycle for them. Third, we can contact business owners, mall managers, etc. and request recycling receptacles. Recycling can actually bring in money for some businesses, so research that and talk money with them. That's a sure way to get their attention.
As far as the plastic bags go...here's an idea for you. Purchase a supply of cloth bags and stand outside a grocery store where you can hand them to customers as they head into the store. It would cost you a little bit, but who knows what that little gesture could lead to. You could even slip a sheet of paper with plastic bag stats inside.
Remember, every little bit helps. You don't have to give up everything in your life. Maybe unplug the microwave when you're not using it, but you don't have to get rid of it. Maybe you need a plastic store grocery bag or two for garbage, but you don't need a cupboard full. Little changes.
If nothing else, I hope I'll make you think twice the next time you're about to toss a water or soda bottle into the trash. Stick it in your purse or cloth shopping bag and take it home to recycle. Our babies and grandbabies are counting on you.
Keeping it green,