I drank a bottle of water today. I stood over the trash can debating. What should I do with the bottle? I don’t have a recycling box yet. If I throw it away it will end up in some poor sea mammal’s home. A manatee might swallow it. It will stay there for 800 years. Do I want that on my head? But if I save it, where do I put it? I could pile the bottles underneath the sink until I can take them to the recycling center. Here I imagined Gabriel opening up the cabinet door (he likes to open and shut the kitchen cupboards for fun) and being buried in bottles and cans at which point I promptly threw the bottle in the regular trash can and forgot about it.
Last week I was buying groceries. “Paper or plastic?” the cashier asked. I hesitated… If I say plastic, she’ll think I don’t care about the environment. I pictured thousands of plastic bags abandoned in our local dump, destined to stay there for generations. If I choose plastic I will have to make sure I recycle them. Oh, but I never remember to take them back to the store…Should I choose paper? I remembered reading that it takes a lot of energy and resources to recycle a paper bag. Is paper the better choice? Why do I even care this much? All I really need is something to carry my groceries from the car to the kitchen. Why don’t I ever remember my reusable bags? After what seemed like minutes of internal dialogue, which in reality was probably only a few seconds, I blurted out, “Paper!”
Mr. Al Gore, I’m sorry. My standards of living probably don’t live up to what you have dreamed for America. However, I promise that if you give me some of the profits you are making off of global warming I will take a bigger interest in saving the planet also. Until then, I will go on throwing my pop can in the trash when there is no recycling bin available, using a garbage disposal instead of making my own compost pile, and caring more about my son’s footprint than my carbon footprint. He’s more important anyway.