Captain Planet doesn’t lie

By By Eric Evans

By Eric Evans

I have 21 paper cuts on my left index finger alone. Nearly a dozen more cuts have been etched into the next finger. How could I enjoy this self-mutilation? I don’t, but I do get paid for it.

For the past two days I have endured the pains of something I had promised myself I would never go near, and now I find that those commitments are heavier than the stacks of paper I have been hired to move. For the first time in my life, I have become a full-time manual laborer, and the benefits of this line of work are aching throughout my whole body. It makes to be a “man at work.” The pay is slightly better, the hours are constant, and sometimes the radio might even get turned on. However, the point I am going to make is not about labor or the workers union, but about recycling.

I work for a company that does its part to recycle-not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s cost effective. This doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone living all over the world-the recycling center only gives out a handful of nickels per pound-but we should nonetheless follow the example of small businesses everywhere, like mine.

Every few days or so a large truck will drive in through the small alleyway between the warehouse and the print shop and buy the mounds of cardboard and paper shreds accumulated. This paper is broken down, reformed and then sold back through the constantly circulating process of supply and demand.

Most recycled products are the same quality of that of the virgin product, and sometimes even less expensive. If more paper is recycled then more recycled product will become available, which will later lower costs of the reprocessed paper. Businesses can then order what they need in recycled material for less, use it as effectively as new material, and sell the waste or leftovers back to the refinery. Bottom line: money is saved, effectiveness increased, and the economy is healthy.

Speaking of healthy-have you been outside lately? See those trees that stick out of the ground? Pretty neat, huh? Now imagine brown stumps in place of those green giants. Still like the view? How about putting a big old pile of garbage right next to it?

To be honest, we probably won’t run out of space for landfills in our lifetimes, and it will take a while for our entire tree supply to be cut down and before the oxygen becomes contaminated beyond tolerance. That doesn’t mean things will stay in supply forever. Imagine if that whole circle of reuse wasn’t used on just paper, but all salvageable materials. It is true that not all things can be recycled 100 percent of the time, but that’s why they say to first reduce, then reuse, then recycle.

Yesterday at work I bought a soda, then refilled the can with water and used it as a cup. Sure, the water was slightly lemon lime, but it worked. Later on I went to toss it into garbage but caught my hand before I could act. I looked at the pile of trash, crushed the green and yellow can, and kept it until I found a recycling bin.

We should not stop there, either.

Ever thought of having kids? Ever wondered what the future will look like for them? Well, I have news for you-the reason the cities on “The Jetsons” were built on poles is humans had nearly destroyed the earth they lived on. Do you want your kids do live through that? Do want to wake from your cryogenic slumber to find your purple mountain’s majesty has turned into a rotten mound of tragedy?

Then do your part! Dig out those empty milk cartons and get your 40 cents for the pile of cans under the sink. Then go the rest of the way and take the initiative to do something for the generations to come.