Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Love Recycling!

"Hey, cleaning lady!!!"

"Can I have your green vest?"

"Can I have your grabbers?"

"Gimme five!"

Those are just a few of the comments from the crowd at USANA when I am traversing the aisles as a member of the Green Team.  It's all in fun, and I laugh.  Anyone who sees the mammoth piles and bags of trash after just one concert in just one venue will be relieved to know recycling efforts are at work to reduce the environmental impact of these fun events.

The U.S., at least Utah, is a little behind in the recycling game when compared to say, Germany.  I've visited Germany three times so I knew that the recycling bins were multifaceted.  My foreign correspondent, Marie, who took these photographs, lives in Berlin.  Last year, she was a foreign exchange student living with my cousin Donna and her family, so Marie became part of our family.  Within a month of her arrival, she attended my aunt's funeral and my daughter's wedding.  (As a family, we're believers in quick and emotional initiations.)  She spent a fun-filled year in California high school and only recently returned to Berlin with her family.

Anyway, one day I emailed to Marie, "Hey Marie would you mind sending me some pictures of the recycling bins in Germany?"  I'm sure this was unique among any "send me pictures" request Marie's ever gotten.  But she's a good sport and came through with a montage of wonderful photos.

As you can see, there are three bins for glass alone. Think beer bottles: Germany drinks more beer per capita than any country except Ireland and the Czech Republic.  And there are additional breakouts for plastic and paper, plus a bin to drop used clothing and shoes.

The closest approximation to the German level of sophistication in recycling I've seen in Utah is the Park Silly Sunday Markets, a Zero Impact event, where a recycling educator stands by the recycling bins and directs your deposits to the appropriate bin.  With four bins, the choices were a bit overwhelming but eventually I figured out where to put my taco plate and water bottle.

And as I mentioned in a previous post, Carolyn's Garden Concerts has a "zero impact" event approach, too.  If you attend one of her concerts and sample the delicious appetizers brought by the concert goers, you will be eating off a plastic plate and flatware that you will later scrape in preparation for the dishwasher.

Oscar the Grouch had the right idea.  Just recyle, reuse, and everybody will be happy.  Well, almost everybody.

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