We have to recycle

Priya - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on November 11, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

I have just come back from a meeting with our parent company. The overall trip was uneventful, but one thing glaringly stood out. We were on a bus doing store checks on our products and the very kind folks from our parent office bought candy and snacks for the bus ride. They were handing out Styrofoam bowls. I started to say that we could not and should not use them because it, the Styrofoam bowls were landfill waste. The other employees laughed and said that they were already bought and we should use them. I realized at that moment that I believe in recycling and doing the right thing when it comes to the waste of our products.

We then went into a grocery store to check on our products at shelf. We cleaned up the shelf and took the empty paperboard displays to be recycled. I went to the grocery store clerk to ask if they had a paper recycling bin. The clerk said: “No we don’t recycle.” I told my colleagues that we would have to takes these to the hotel and recycle them. The hotel clerk said that they do not recycle. I was appalled.

How is it that in this day, in this country with the amount of knowledge that we have about waste that some companies are doing nothing about recycling? I have all the paper from the meeting and the display cardboard in my luggage to be properly disposed of in my home. I was thinking as I was packing the recycling into my bag, what are you doing? You are crazy for bringing this home and recycling. But I knew I could not throw a piece of paper into the trash just to see it end up in a landfill instead of being recycled.

I believe that we have to not only recycle when we are at home but also at work, on vacation and wherever we can. I recycle my shampoo bottles, face cream bottles, and other things based on the recycling number as well as glass and paper. Composting is probably next. I learned about recycling, my impact on the environment and our duty as citizens of the planet from the company I work for. I am grateful to them for taking me down this phenomenal path of doing the right thing with waste. Until two years ago I could not tell you the difference between the recycling numbers. I am galvanized to write to my municipality and my state government about better recycling. But I also know that not all parts of the U.S. are properly equipped to recycle. How can we change that? What can we do?

If we want to be better then we have to be better by changing our behavior. Gandhi said that “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.” I feel that I have to do my part so that I am the change that I want to see.