December 30, 2011

The Three Rs

Yesterday, I threw away a soda bottle. I just threw it in the garbage with no thought to where it came from or where it would end up, whether or not it began its life as a tire or if it would end up as a disposable diaper. I just didn’t care. Except that I did! As soon as I shut the trash can cabinet door, that little voice in my head said, “why didn’t you recycle that?” And that voice sounded an awful lot like my daughter’s. Since my children started elementary school, I’ve noticed a distinct shift. When I was young(er), recycling and being “green” was not part of the common culture. Sure, there were always those folks who recycled paper or complained about where all of those old tires would go, but no one in the schools talked about the environment. The hole in the ozone layer was the hot topic, but no one knew what to do about it (and we weren’t about to give up our hairspray!). Now, my children are learning about global warming and its impact on the environment. My kids think about where there things come from and where they go when they are done. There are entire “trash-free” lunch days at school. You can buy reusable anything and everything. Practically everyone at the grocery store is carrying reusable bags these days, in fact, I feel guilty when I forget them. But the biggest influence on my behavior is definitely my children, and the level of disdain they have for any type of normal trash disposal procedures. So as soon as I shut that door, I immediately reached back in, pulled out the bottle, and took two seconds to rinse it out, tossing it into the recycling basket. And I felt really good about it.

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