Monday, March 22, 2010

Recycling Gone Amuck

Today I began my day by picking up trash around my place of employment. The feed store sits between two community entities: Spring Creek and the recycling bins, hence, we serve as the "hedge" between runaway trash and a precious water and wildlife corridor.

The wind blows here on a regular basis. On bad days it's hurricane force. Thank goodness, we're on the high, dry plains, or we'd experience natural disasters on a regular basis. I have no complaints with the wind. Air movement keeps things smelling fresh, moves our weather through quickly, and distributes nutrients.

My complaint is that in an effort to keep our town "green", the recycling bin areas have become the new town dump. If a bin is full, people just leave their disposables on the ground. If they're feeling lazy, they leave bags upon bags of newspapers, bottles, and cans, OUTSIDE the bins. If the city has not emptied the cardboard bins, people just stack their boxes on the ground.

Visual pollution is created by the unsightly piles of cardboard and bags of recyclables. Physical pollution is created when the wind redistributes the trash across the landscape or animals dig through the bags or people just don't pick up after themselves.

I could continue to vent, but as Bliss Browne of the Chicago "Imagine" project encourages people, take the challenge and rephrase it to positive action. To that end, I have created a set of Spring Beatitudes that I am submitting to the local newspaper editor:

Blessed are they who recycle, for they save our land, soil and water for future generations.Blessed are they who place their recyclables in the proper bin, for they practice leadership by example.Blessed are the volunteers who pick up "public trash", for they keep our community beautiful.Blessed are the city workers who diligently empty the bins, for they keep trash off the ground, out of the landfill, and out of Spring Creek.Blessed are the volunteers who walk the creek, railroad tracks and highways and byways, removing trash, for they keep the landscape viable for all.Blessed are they who renew their vows to be better stewards of their discarded items, for they keep Choteau in good favor, as a pretty, friendly, place.

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