For once, I am posting not to bitch and moan, but to ooh and aah! A recycling revolution has come to Arlington, VA in the form of a big blue trash bin!
My rule on recycling has always been: I will recycle enough to feel like a decent human being but no more than is convenient for me (because I matter. And because my economist husband says that recycling really doesn't save much in the way of resources and energy after all. Someone did a study. And if there is a study, there is a good chance Kevin knows about it.). In other words, I will rinse out a can of tomatoes, but not a jar of peanut butter.
But actually I am a better person than that in practice. I have done some level of recycling even when Arlington, VA didn't make it that convenient. Until today, I have had to sort paper and cardboard from plastics, for instance. And yes I felt like a hero doing it. Because these days if I am dressed and clean, I feel like a hero. I even told my boss I deserved an Exceptional Performance Award this month for accomplishing anything at all. I would really like to see my group chief hand that one out: "This EPA goes to Holly for performing her normal duties adequately enough and with relatively clean hair."
But heroics are no longer required for recycling in Arlington, VA. Everything you can imagine to recycle goes in the big blue bin. Paper, foil, yogurt cups, milk cartons, boxes NOT EVEN BROKEN DOWN (stop, it's just too thrilling to contemplate!), and, can you believe it, EVEN BOOKS, paperback AND hardcover. AND you can throw away wire hangers, one of my top nemeses because no matter how many times I try to root them out, the dry cleaners keep giving us more and more and more until they band together in one tangled mess and take over the closet and cause me to lose my mind!!! AND, as if it could get any better than wire hangers, you can request them to come and pick up ELECTRONICS for recycling. Yes, it's true. You can throw away an entire VCR without turning some village in India into a seething pit of toxic chemicals.
And this gets me to the real heart of my excitement. It's not that I have a strong commitment to the environmental movement (I have a strong commitment to other people's strong commitment to the environmental movement, I'll keep living the easy way thanks). It's that I love throwing things away. OMG do I love throwing things away. Now I can do it with less guilt, knowing that my trash will become a yoga mat or maybe even some house that Brad Pitt is building in New Orleans.
This occasion calls for a rethinking of the shopping boycott in fact. If I can so easily and usefully dispose of things, why punish the economy by not buying more?