Is recycling true and good and beautiful? Maybe. I have read many articles that are pro recycling, none that are con. None? As for cost-benefit, the costs I read about are less, usually, than benefits and the costs are measured, always, in terms of economics. Yet people don't live by cash alone.
One person who understood issues of emotion, not just cash, wrote in to the newspaper letters section sounding shrill and bitter. How hard can it be, he demanded, to soak your cans in the sink to peel off the labels? Or to leave glass jars in a full sink overnight to soak, as he does ...he went on like this "self-righteously" ...and therein lies his motivation. He mentioned no partner and I wondered if he is a bachelor and if, back in high school, he would have ever socialized with Cordelia Chase.
You may remember "Cordy" from Sunnydale High: a rich pretty cheerleader and social queen... not someone who would associate with library nerds, or a vampire slayer or... dare I say it, future bitter recycle-ers. When Cordy got a job in the real world, in L A, she was in a world at one remove from high school hell, but a world where many non nerds still feel traces of conformity-fear, still want to keep up with the Joneses and still look to opinion queens. I can imagine a woman sitting in a beauty salon, looking at her nails, and wondering, "Does Cordelia fill her sink overnight? And if she won't, then I won't either."
As I write this my spectacles are free of tape and I am wearing clothes with matching colors. Yes, I have a computer, and yes, I have the independent thinking of a nerd, but I also have enough consideration for others to dress well and to gently expect others to act as their peers do, not as my own peers might wish them to do.
Many of my peers, as noted in my (May 2011) Atrocities and Our Troops essay, are organic new age types. One fellow is a small businessman. This means long days. Maybe too long: the poor guy can't attend any of my community building or dialogue groups. And when I found out that on top of all his labor he was crushing and folding all the myriad cardboard boxes that came through his store, and after stomping on them he was carting them off to the (not a) recycling bin... I said, "Enough!"
I said that even people who own a computer (he owns four) and who have collected every episode of Buffy (he can freely borrow mine) are still allowed to "get a life." Sure, you're "s'posed to" recycle but think of all the good you can do for others with the time you could save. I told him, "What's good for your store is good for the new age community."
I think Buffy would sympathise. Like me, she feels pain at thoughtless litter bugs. And she would feel pain at seeing beautiful thoughtless Cordelia. Yet Buffy is too noble, too sensible, to escape from her pain by feeling alienated from Cordelia and condemning Cordelia's lifestyle. Buffy doesn't do "self righteous." Instead she came to sympathise with Cordy and to protect her with her life.
A couple I know—one is my friend of many years—expressed "irritation," you might say, the last time I failed to recycle my clothes. So, for my next time, I arranged with the friend to meet in a small town tea house called Tea & Time Emporium ... Then we would car pool and she would show me where the town recycling for clothing was. More importantly, and this was her idea, we were to meet at Tea & Time so I could edit down a couple of her professional articles. (I happen to be a paid published writer.) Well, I will tell you what happened: it was my turn to feel a little bit miffed, a wee bit cranky... and downright "irritated."
My friend forgot about recycling, forgot about me... I was stood up. And so my point is this: Following my organic friend's forgetful example, we don't need to take recycling too seriously. Not unless we enjoy feeling self-righteous and feeling cut off from our fellow humans... Better to recycle less from "s'posed to" and more from joy, as many of my dear readers do, joy in the spirit that each of us are a wonderful part of the planet... including the folks who don't recycle.
North of a small town
~ Responsible to others? Buffy is a blond who is too responsible to continue cheerleading with Cordelia, not once she answered her calling as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
~It strikes me that for teens the defining characteristic of "popular" non nerds, such as Cordelia, is no responsibility... The one who has to take care of Aunt May, or rush home to tend the animals, never makes it as teen royalty. There is an essay here... (Hence I've made a piece May 2013 about Silence and Three Nerd Heroes)