My Earth Day Contribution 2010

I've been really making an effort these last couple years to honor Earth Day. While the saying goes that we should treat everyday like Earth Day, it is easy to slip into less than perfect habits. Plus, having one day where everyone (media, organizations, etc.) is focused on doing good things for our planet makes for a wonderful excuse to do something yourself.

The past 2 years, I've been taking a couple hours out of my Earth Day schedule to go pick up trash on the side of the road. Not only is this Earth Day inspired, but when bike is one's primary mode of transportation, one tends to notice just how trashy some of our roads can get.

Besides the great feeling I get from doing my little part to help clean up, it is just downright interesting to see what ends up on the side of the road. In my unscientific survey, here are my observations. At least 3/4 of the garbage on the side of the road is easily recyclable (glass, plastic, aluminum, etc.).* A majority of that (at least in my small test area) is glass such as beer bottles, alcohol bottles, and wine bottles (the weight and breakablity of which led to some interesting thoughts on glass's desirability as a packaging medium). Some roads haven't had a trash crew through in a long time. Just an hour of cleaning up trash can make a huge difference.

I'm hoping to make my Earth Day trash clean up a yearly thing. If you happen to be around next April, feel free to join me.
Monday April 26 2010File under: environment

Toggle Comments (1)comment?
on Thu 29th Apr, 2010 11:51 am PDT Horge said:
Just thought I'd throw in my 2 Euros about your glass pondering from my work/research: glass is one of the most easily recyclable packaging (saves about 35-32% energy, produces about 1/4 the solid waste, reduces pollution of air about 20% and water 50%, and would reduce mining waste by about 80%); recycled aluminum is even more cost-effective (saves 90-95% each of the energy, raw materials and air pollution); obviously plastic is awful (full of dangerous chemicals and it can really only be downgraded - drinking bottle > detergent bottle - instead of used for the same purpose, uses up scarce petroleum resources, gives a funkier taste...). But to my thinking, glass still wins out, because if the bottle manages to stay intact, it just needs to be cleaned and refilled, while the aluminum will have to be reprocessed from the start... So that's my 2638 cents for the day :)
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