It's that time of year again; Monday, November 15 is America Recycles Day. Even the EPA is into it this year, telling us that "By teaching our children the importance of recycling, they can take lessons of environmental consciousness with them throughout their lives.."
But what is the lesson and who wrote the lesson plan? It's brought to you by these sponsors:
Among others, we have beer companies. Soda pop companies. The plastics lobby group. Bottled water companies. Garbage haulers. All the people who have a vested interest in you buying more crap, the people who are essentially making you feel good about participating in a system where they get to make more glass, more plastic and ship it farther. This took a lot of work; as Heather Rogers said in Alternet:
I think it's important to acknowledge what's happened on the cultural level in terms of indoctrinating people to disposability. A lot of effort has been made to teach people to throw things away. It's not something that that comes natural to people. It's just use something and discard it, that's something we've had to learn how to do.
Image credit: Heather Rogers, Trash
And look at what a terrific job they have done of educating us; the refillable bottle has just about disappeared in America. The local brewer and bottler is almost extinct. They have us so well trained that when I discussed with our own Pablo the fact that I didn't think beer cans were green, he responded "I just think that the US culture needs some work before they will accept drinking from a "used" bottle." He's probably right.
America Recycles Day celebrates a culture of waste. It is designed to make us feel good about throwing things away. Instead we should be promoting a culture of zero waste and producer responsibility. Let's show Nestle Waters and the American Chemistry Council how its done by making November 15 Zero Waste Day. Recycling isn't good enough anymore. Here's the plan for Monday:
- Support a restaurant that has real mugs and china.
- Support companies that practice corporate responsibility and take their products back at end of life.
- Buy only fresh food that comes without packaging.
- Don't buy anything disposable for just one day.
Recycling is Bullshit; Make Nov. 15 Zero Waste Day, not America Recycles Day
There Are At Least 10 R's, And Recycling Is The Least Of Them
Is Recycling the Most Important Part of a Zero Waste Life?