It is clear to me that we don’t as a nation believe in the environment, or at least we all think different aspects of the environment are more important than others.
As a road traveller I no longer recycle. Yes I said it. If you live out of your vehicle you save water, power, in many cases fuel but I bet you find it really hard to recycle too. I recycle if I find a can but those are usually in National Parks which ban dogs so I rarely frequent them.
While visiting a friend I saw the nice recycle box in their house and used it. It is an easy system, once a week or so you bring the recyclables to the curb and usually the city or county takes them away. The effort is very minimal, and it is paid for by homeowners taxes most of the time. The truth is very little money is made from recycling the common commodities except for aluminum and I won’t go into figures or reasons why here. In some instances it costs much more to recycle than it does to dump our trash. I’ve been saying for years one day landfills will be our gold mines and whomever owns them will be rich with the commodities we need to dig up when we run out of them.
If you live in your car you have very few options for recycling. If I were to see a bin for recycling outside of someone’s house and fill it many people out of some paranoia would call their local police department especially if I kept doing it.
So what do I do? I throw it out at a grocery store parking lot or a fuel station. I used to be a Recycling Specialist for the County of Hawaii and I not only supported recycling there; I loved how we tried to make it easy for visitors to recycle. There were recycling bins downtown, and there were 21 recycling stations around the island for anyone to go to for free! Anyone…we didn’t check ID’s. We saved taxpayer dollars because we never hired anyone to check ID’s.
You see we discovered one thing very quickly in Hawaii. Visitors spend A LOT of money in our town and that helps the people with homes. Visitors are ohhh so stupid though and they don’t have a curb to throw their recyclables onto and they will throw them away instead of being the creep that uses “your” recycle bin unless you make it free and easy.
Let’s break it down even further for the voters on new laws. I recently changed the motor oil on my car in Colorado (it’s a 15 quart deal as I have a diesel) and I took my oil to the place I always take it, an auto parts store after being turned down by Walmart where I purchased my new oil. Auto parts stores traditionally take used motor oil to recycle into new oil or to burn it as heating oil. The nice person behind the counter said new county regulations PROHIBIT them from taking used motor oil and I need to contact the County. So I contact Summit County and this is straight from their website:
“This service is free to all Summit County residents and property owners, thanks to the Safety First Fund, passed by local voters in November 2014. Proof of residency or property ownership is required with all drop-offs.”
If every county believed this and voted this way I would be caught in a never ending loop hole of driving as I am 3,000 miles away from where I could legally drop off my used motor oil, just in time to do yet another oil change. It would take up my entire life and I just would never ever be able to accomplish anything else in my life but do an oil change on the East Coast, drive to Colorado and do yet another oil change just to drive my used oil back to the East Coast and the cycle would continue.
So you know what people are going to do? They are going to pour the used motor oil on the ground (I didn’t do that) and then it is going to pollute your drinking water (one drop of oil pollutes one million gallons of water I’ve read) so while your voting for what seems to make sense to you personally do you really want to drink motor oil infused water from visitors caught in a loophole?
This is a pretty un-precedented presidential election year. Everyone seems to worry about the next president. Let me tell you that I think much of what will affect you daily will be at the local level so research what is on the ballet. Don’t get caught up in the writing of laws like one I saw recently; “Do you think Sheriff’s should be limited to three terms?” So quickly you may think yes! But you need to know that the current limit is still two terms. The people are in power, not the people elected to be in power who write new laws. Please stop feeling like you have no power because you can’t choose the next president…you really can make a difference in this world by voting.
I don’t have a solution of how to pay for waste in this country. I do know as long as we make it convenient everybody wins. What will make your state bankrupt is cleaning up the mess after they saved a couple million dollars on keeping recycle bins off the streets.
Your past Recycling Specialist