Saturday, December 13, 2008

it doesn't add up

I've traveled a bit over the past few years, living in Belgium, NYC, and now the Netherlands. Every culture is so different, and of course you have to adjust and learn the laws of the land in each place that you live or visit. For example, in Belgium I was amazed at their recycling program. Color coded garbage bags replaced the Glad and Hefty bags at the supermarket. Garbage collection was strict, and I was warned more than once that a violation would mean that they would go through my garbage in an attempt to find out who I was and fine me. In our house we recycled everything except cat litter and food items.

In NYC our household was dedicated to recycling everything possible. The building where we lived had all of the containers labeled, and there was really NO excuse not to participate as they were on every floor, so you had to walk past them to leave.

Here in the Netherlands I would expect the same thing. I'm constantly reading about their innovations and forward thinking designs. I read an
article a few days ago about how an old coal mine has been re-purposed to harvest geothermal energy from water sources in abandoned shafts. This resource powers 350 homes and businesses in the area. That sounds SO exciting to me! I read the article, I loved the idea, the fact that it was realized, and the finished design is even a huge winner... BUT, here's the big FAT BUT... there is no recycling of household plastics and metals in the country, or as far as I have been able to discover. I called the local recycling center, I asked a friend in a neighboring town, I did online research. Apparently it is not happening. On a day to day basis I'm left feeling like a polluter of the earth as I'm forced to discard my plastic and metal containers with the rest of the trash. Over and over I've asked people, "How can this be?" My friend suggested, "Well, this is a small country and they don't have anywhere to put it." This makes no sense of course, because by not recycling there is more garbage destined for the landfill, and that requires more space.

So, my friends, I am pretty disappointed in the Dutchies for not prioritizing something so basic that is in place in so many places across the world, and that makes a HUGE difference.

image via scribalterror

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