When my sister-in-law Tanya recommended the book Serve God Save the Planet to me she commented on one important statement that spoke to her in the book. That was that you can make a difference doing your part to stop living an "unsustainable" life of waste and impact the planet that God entrusted to our care in a positive way. Sometimes it's difficult to feel like you can actually impact anything ... so why bother ... goes the reasoning. But, as many of us do our small parts -- we can make a difference.
Last year when I started this journey (the above) I started recycling with a vengeance. Our town doesn't have a trash service so you either have to go to the dump yourself or hire a service to carry trash and recyclables away. When I noticed our service Waste Tech dumping my carefully collected recyclables into the same section as the trash in their truck -- I started some investigating. They claimed that they took it to a neighboring town and someone went through it and took out the recyclables. I called the man in charge of such things here -- at the Health Department of all things -- and inquired. It's illegal in Massachusetts and in Rehoboth to throw recyclables into the trash. If Waste Tech was doing this, they were breaking the law. I started chatting with everyone I ran into about this matter and found myself speaking to a woman who volunteers at the "trash center" in this neighboring town that Waste Tech was supposedly having their recylceables sorted. So, she picked up the phone and inquired if they offered a sorting service -- come to find out, there is someone who goes through the trash, but that's just to remove big things like coffee makers, computers, etc., not your basic everyday recyclables. So, I called up Waste Tech and discontinued my service, called the head of the Health Department (also an adamant recycler) -- he was going to start investigating (this was the third inquiry he'd gotten on the subject in one week) and asking questions, and I started telling all my neighbors who used Waste Tech. Several of my neighbors as a consequence discontinued their service -- to the point where one of the people at Waste Tech reportedly said "What is with your neighborhood??!"
Last week I noticed some new Waste Tech recycling bins on the side of the road. So, when I saw the Waste Tech trash truck rolling by I pulled into someone's driveway to investigate and question the driver. I asked if they were still throwing the recyclables into the trash truck and the man informed me that they have a Recycling Truck that comes by separately. I explained that I'd never seen such a truck. But, don't you know, a few hours later one drove by my house! It looks shiny and new like it just drove out of the sales lot with freshly painted words on the side that reads "Rehoboth Recycles". Wow. Cool eh?
In another example of how you can impact our world, my husband Victor reported to me that the dudes at the dump told him to throw my carefully collected light bulbs into the "furniture bin" -- which basically means we won't charge you for dumping it but we are not recycling it either. Victor also said that he saw computer monitors and a t.v. set in there. I was astounded. "I've got to call my friend Bob at the Health Department!" I announced. Bob now knows me by name and recognizes me driving down the road. Anyway, I expressed my surprise and concern to him about the light bulbs -- and he too was surprised!! Come to find out there IS a special bin for all of these things but we weren't being told to put these toxic items in it! He was glad to hear about the problem and was going down for a visit to solve it, pronto. Wow!
You too can make an impact. Keep your eyes peeled and your investigative mind working. Making a few calls and chatting with dump truck driver, neighbors and friends is something an at home mom juggling kids, schedules and homemaking can do and have an impact! Be encouraged!