All posts tagged: Recycle

The Day I Decided to Clean Up My Hometown

I live in Des Moines, Iowa. Once known mostly as a “fly-over” state, we are now a fast growing city whose inhabitants strut around with intense pride for their thriving cultural accoutrements and affluent economy. Des Moines is often described as mid-sized, safe, clean and accessible — a place where you can make an impact, see the ripple effect and still leave your front door unlocked in the event a friend wants to deliver a homemade pie. But this spring as the snow melted, I started to see that my prideful perception of my perfect little town wasn’t quite accurate: The “clean” landscape I frequently boasted about now appeared trashy and unkempt. And I was embarrassed. En route to a favorite brewery one day, I happened to glance out the window, acutely tuned in to the surroundings. One side of the road was a big lot filled with semi truck trailers. The other side was lined with trees and brush — and should have been the side of the street that harkened to nature and …

The Tyranny and Terror of Proper Recyling

I live in fear throughout the year. I live in fear of trash. And trash receptacles. The refuse chute. Trash cans. Garbage bags. Those misleadingly cheery green and blue plastic bins with imprinted arrows, infinitely chasing each other in a relationship that will never be consummated, forever and ever and ever. This phobia began when recycling laws went into effect in our hometown. My mother took the rules very seriously. We’d hear her asides about the trash habits of our neighbors, who, without a care in the world, would cavalierly fling empty pizza boxes into the bins marked “Glass Only.” There were only a half-dozen bins marked “Paper Only” waiting to accept their refuse, but no, these thoughtless yuppies tossed their artisan Otto’s Pizza boxes into the bins reserved for glass. Every evening, for as long as I could remember, newspapers, plastic, boxes, cardboard and metal bric-a-brac were separated and dutifully carried to the green square cans labeled “Paper,” “Metal” or “Plastic” on the curb, first by my Father, and then, later, by us kids. …

Margit’s Note: The Girl in the Plastic Bubble

We Gen-Xers have lived a life full of plastic: Our shag rugs strewn with high-arch-footed dolls, Legos, bubble wrap, Tupperware containers, six-pack rings, vinyl records, cassette tapes…you name it. “There’s a great future in plastics. Think about it. Will you think about it?” says Mr. McGuire to Benjamin in The Graduate, a movie that debuted the year many of us were just babes, 1967. And then a few years later in 1970, after the first Earth Day and the backlash due to rising energy costs, we met the movement to make things green again. Consumer recycling took hold in our lifetimes — which is kind of weird to think about. (Although, who knew, Plato first discussed the idea in 400 B.C. “Socrates, dude, these bronze spikes would be super cute as a necklace.”) For as long as we can remember, we’ve been battling a tug of war between man-made and earth friendly options.  Paper or plastic?  This nose or that one? Fake or authentic? Here’s a little irony for you: “Plastic” means “capable of being …