Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

On Saturday, we helped with a yearly cleanup sponsored by the neighborhood association. This event is like a garage sale on steroids. When we arrived at 7:30 am the parking lot was already lined with giant dumpsters and a Goodwill trailer. One dumpster was for yard debris and wood, one for metal, two were marked for mixed waste, styrofoam and plastic were collected in a U-Haul, one area was set aside for the Habitat Rebuilding Store, and the Goodwill trailer stood ready to accept e-waste and reusable items. For someone who is not enthusiastic about garage sales, I looked forward to the day of volunteering like a trip to the dentist.

I was in charge of e-waste - computers, printers, VCRs, DVD players, and assorted electronics. Thankfully Gary agreed to go along and help load the e-waste into huge bins inside the Goodwill trailer. By 11 am the resale area, adjacent to our station, overflowed with clothing, kitchen utensils, damaged toys, well used sports equipment, and miscellaneous furniture. It wasn't long before people started to refill their vehicles with new found treasures. I encouraged the bargain hunting because I figured the more they took the less we would have to load at the end.

As the torn and soiled sofas, broken chairs, cheap appliances, well used lawn furniture, and electronics flowed out of vehicles, I couldn't help but think about our throw away society. It is a bit disgusting how much we buy, destroy and then discard.

I've always been out of step with the disposable mind set. Our sofa is 28 years old and looks just about as good as the day it arrived, a favorite chair in the living room was in my mother's home in the early 1940s, the dining set my grandparents purchased used in the 1930s still serves us well and my closet is full of clothes I've been wearing since before my children were born.

I noticed a television ad this weekend for disposable bathroom towels. Just what we need. What ever happened to reduce, reuse, recycle?

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