Trash Talk

by Amanda Lanum 

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way."

I keep a little flip book of quotes on my desk and I smiled when I flipped it for today and these were the words of encouragement. It's fitting for what I had just been thinking about this morning. Here's why:

I recycle. Some people roll their eyes at people who want to keep the Earth in good condition... I don't understand it... but I know there are people who feel that way. Anyway, part of my effort to recycle happens at work where we throw out a large amount of paper because of press releases, scripts and rundowns for the newscasts. We don't really have an organized effort to recycle these things (although we do have an aluminum can -- yay!), so I keep a large box in my cubicle where papers and newspapers go. I even get the occasional plastic water bottle, which is fine with me. I can recycle it all at the same place anyway. No big deal.

I'm not going to name names [that wouldn't be very nice :-) ], but I've noticed a few times when I come in overnight that there is a lot of paper in one particular trash can. So last week I told the employee who works at said cubicle that they can throw that stuff into my recycle box instead of the trash can and I'll take it to the bin. It'll be easy for them and good for the Earth. Win-win.

This morning the trash can is full of paper and I joke with the person, "Hey all this is recyclable!" Here is what confuses me: the response I received was, 'I'm not gonna do that. It's just too much and it becomes a mess and we always get someone in here who gets a whim to do something 'good' like that for a little while and then it stops.'

I've been recycling paper at work like this for over a year, but that's not the point. Instead, I said, "Well what's the difference between dropping it in your trash or dropping it in the box?" (It's literally nine feet from this person's trash can to the recycle box.) I'm not the type of person to push something too hard - nor do I appreciate people who are - so I let it go.

I thought I'd ask you; why is it such a big deal? Doesn't it sometimes take more effort to fight the "green movement" than to just do something so simple as to choose a different bin to throw or trash? Is it so hard to not throw crap out your car window, but to wait until you get home to toss it? Why the big rebellion in the effort to give a little back to Mother Nature?

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