Publisher’s Corner: Recycle Our Waste Before We Recycle Our Planet

The next time you toss that beer bottle or soda bottle in the trash instead of a recycling container, think about this. In the Pacific Ocean about 1000  miles off the coast of California is something scientists call the Pacific Ocean Garbage Patch. Consisting mostly of bits and pieces of plastic waste, this giant floating debris field covers a vast area of hundreds and even thousands of miles. This watery landfill is guided by the oceans currents and their seems to be no end in sight. A crew of scientists are studying the massive floating trash dump in hopes of finding a way to head off a global environmental disaster. Seems to me the best way to keep trash out of the oceans, off our streets and our green spaces, is RECYCLE! Obviously recycling has come a long way. Just read Jean Ponzi’s article  on page 3 and the inspiring information provided for this special Recycling Edition by the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District. There is plenty of reason for  optimism. And yet our oceans and our planet continue to collect trash like black pants collect pet hair. I assume those  of you who are reading this column already recycle. If you don’t, you need to start today.  And in doing so, get one other person to join you. This is not a political issue, it is a survival issue. How many times have you complained about floating trash in the local river or lake? Now think in terms of a floating trash pile the size of a city. Perhaps  debris is being illegally dumped. But if there were no plastic to be dumped, it would not end  up in the ocean, or in the gutters or sidewalks of St.Louis. Many of us don’t litter anymore. Our collective consciousness has evolved. But if you throw away plastic, paper, glass, metal and even styrofoam, you are still a litter bug. Even if your trash ends up in a landfill, it remains trash instead of being recycled  and reused. And with single stream recycling (you don’t even have to separate your recyclables anymore) it is easier than ever to help keep our planet clean for generations to come. Kudos to our areas’s recycling companies and our sports teams who have adopted GREEN TEAMS to take control of stadium trash and recyclables. Communities, organizations, schools, businesses have all adopted recycling programs. Remember when  your trash can used to be filled to the brim? Now it’s almost empty and the recycling bin is full. The scales are tipping. That’s the sign of a new collective consciousness. We need to recycle our waste before we have to recycle our planet.

In Good Health,               J.B. Lester; Publisher