Feeling Good About Accomplishing Nothing.

Dave Killion — February 12, 2011

A family member has taken a job in food service recently, and the store in which he works has a trash receptacle divided into multiple compartments, all labeled to permit separation of paper, plastic, trash, and so on. When I finished eating at this place the other day, I was dutifully sorting the waste and noted that all the containers looked as if an awful lot of people were simply stuffing everything into any old bin. The family member let me know that at the end of the business day, the bags are simply tied shut and placed outside for the shopping centre to remove. We both doubt anyone is sorting those bags out after picking them up.

That’s just fine by me. Devoting resources to recycling would, in this case, consume more resources than it salvages. Unfortunately, retailers have to satisfy those consumers who think recycling is always and everywhere a good thing, so this sort of ‘greenwashing’ is inevitable.

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