Who would have thought that the little song I crafted back in early 1990s for an Odyssey of the Mind sketch would still be haunting me today. Only I could have come up with embarrassing lyrics that went a little something like, ‘R-E-C-Y-C-L-E, find out what it means to me!’ and watch my teammates perform them on stage because there was NO WAY I would be caught dead doing that. Too bad I didn't know Courtney back then because I am sure she would have been up to the task. After all, I somehow got her to meow at a small bird trying to eat her dinner.[note from Courtney: this is true. It was a fat, rude bird that was not intimidated by meowing] Anyway…
An email floated across my desk just the other day explaining how Governor Jerry Brown has signed new restrictions on California’s bottle bill. In a nutshell this bill serves two main points: one, deter those cheater, cheater, pumpkin eaters from crossing state lines, importing bottles, and exploiting the system; and two, encourage (fair) recycling. When consumers purchase canned or bottled beverages and some packaged food products, they pay a fee. This fee can then be redeemed upon recycling. I remember gathering all the cans and bottles our family would accumulate and taking them to the recycling center with my dad. For our efforts he would let me keep the few bucks we received in exchange for our waste.
|minimize waste = minimized waist|
In addition to the benefit of the spare change as a reward for recycling, it is important to note that recycling can help to save energy. Making something from scratch takes far more energy and produces much more pollution than if a manufacturer were to use recycled materials. The best solution, however, is to simply use less. Yes, we are talking about those three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – and you can bet that was incorporated into my song. Not only does cutting down on what you use help to shed those pounds of greenhouse gas emissions, it can also help to shed those unwanted pounds of fat on your body! This is Wellness Wednesday, people. You should have expected that.
While it sounds silly, it is true. Packages, boxes, bags, cans, and bottles mean extra trash and a greater carbon footprint. They also signal that a food item has been processed and this typically means chemicals, preservatives, and sugar. Stick to Mother Nature’s packaging and opt for foods that come in their natural state – think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Try to shop the bulk section of your grocery store and when you have to use packaging opt for the biodegradable brown bags over plastic.
So, no matter which waste/waist concerns you more you should always practice those three R’s and you (and the planet) will be reap the rewards.
Photo from California Integrated Waste Management Board