Litter Green? - Our Daily Green

Friday, March 18, 2011

Litter Green?

Of the three environmental R's, reduce, reuse and recycle; recycling is listed last for a reason. While it's a valiant effort by many to feel better about the earth and consumer impact, in fact, recycling should be the last step, not the first. Listed in order of importance, reduction is simply about using less, which means there is no waste if the stuff isn't used in the first place. Reusing is about using something more than once while recycling often still involves the addition of virgin resources. We've addressed this before with discussions about plastic recycling. Plastic bottles or bags, for example, are not turned back into plastic bottles or bag, but rather entirely new products with the addition of new petroleum.

from the website: Learning Historical Research
The anti-littering campaign, Keep America Beautiful, was founded in 1956 by the very industries that were part the litter problem, including Phillip Morris, the American Can Company, and other manufacturers of the items most likely to be found as litter. In order to encourage consumers to buy disposable items, they encouraged them to dispose of them properly. Probably the most iconic image from that campaign was The Crying Indian. Today Keep America Beautiful is funded by over 75 corporations, including the major beverage companies (who lobby heavily against bottle deposit bills) as well as tobacco companies. Encouraging people not to litter is fine, but it does nothing to address the disposable world we live in.

In other words, waste, whether tossed on a roadside or buried in a landfill is still garbage. And we can do better.

Our Daily Green originally found this documentary on our friend ECOSiZE Me's blog. ECOSiZE Me is a fabulous Michigan-based company that educates school children about environmental issues. 

Thank you for the poignant reminder. It really is worth the 20 minutes of time to watch it. 
The Hidden Life of Garbage
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