Have you ever noticed how difficult recycling is? I mean, first they’re asking me to walk past the trash can that is immediately on my way to class, take 20 seconds out of my day to walk to the already overflowing recycling bin, then take even more time to perfectly balance my empty coffee cup on top and for what? For it to fall out and get blown away in the wind?
Then, they try to be problem solvers. Provide an equal amount of recycling bins as they do trash cans. Now they want me to rinse out what I’m using? Hold the cleaned out container up to the light to try to find that little triangle with a number? Actually remember which numbers I’m allowed to recycle and which are destined for the other Far Away Place That Is Not To Be Mentioned?
THEN, they introduce composting in Union Court? I’m sorry but if they need three whole posters AND these sustainability cheerleaders just to help us figure out what’s allowed to go where, how am I ever supposed to figure it out when they aren’t there? And what ever happened to freedom anyways? So much for live free or die. More like live green or they’ll come running after you.
Besides, what’s with that Patagonia recycling video that went viral (“Recycling is Broken”) yelling about how nothing actually gets recycled and the constant reminder on the news of severe storms and entire forests on fire, let’s face it…
We’re all doomed anyway.
One day the childhood story about the sky raining spaghetti and meatballs will become reality, but this time titled, “Hurricanes With A Chance of Those Old Plastic Water Bottles You Could Have Easily Avoided Using.” I mean, did you know that 83 percent of the water tested in major metropolitan areas around the world is already polluted with plastic micro-fibers? Or that major storms have increased intensity so that the level of storms we’d normally experience once every 100 years is now happening once every 16 years? Take those two facts and we literally get “Mega Storms With A Chance of Way Too Much Plastic To Survive.”
I repeat: We’re all doomed anyway.
Here’s the real kicker though: There’s no way of knowing how scarce resources will become or how hard the weather will hit us until it has passed the tipping point. That being said, I personally would like to prolong the arrival of that tipping point. Maybe we've already passed it. But those green shirt nature ambassadors claim there are other ways to be eco-conscious. Some of them even claim those other ways are more effective, easier and cheaper than figuring out what can and cannot be recycled (and living with the guilt of knowing it probably won’t be either way). Here are some that I’ve adopted and aren’t half bad:
Use literally anything but a single-use water bottle. A reusable water bottle, a mug you gave your dad eight years ago with a picture of you and your siblings’ faces on the side, a cleaned out salsa jar. Anything goes here. Use these at the hydration stations on campus or even on your next Dunkin’ run. In my quest to out-survive everyone still using plastic, I’ve discovered that Dunkin' and Starbucks both discount your beverage of choice when using a refillable container. As if that wasn’t enough – you know how things taste better when they’re “mini”? They also taste better out of glass jars, 100 percent satisfaction guaranteed.
Eat less meat. Ellen DeGeneres said it best when she said you don’t have to cut it out entirely, but just eat… less of it. Or if you can’t fathom that much, replacing beef and red meat with chicken tends to cut an individual’s carbon emissions in half. Not only that, but chicken is so much easier to chef up. Eat at the dining hall? All the other options are already right in front of you. There’s no easier time to be selective than now.
Stop buying new clothes. It takes time, malls are draining and that money should probably go to paying off loans anyways. Thrift! Exchange with friends! Ask for one of those iconic green shirts, I bet they’d give you one. The fashion industry accounts for more than eight percent of climate impacts, so save the money and the emotional energy of trying on another pair of jeans and just work what ya momma gave ya (or left in a bin in your attic for the past 12 years).
Basically, for the sake of yourself, stop recycling. It is easier to just buy the reusable water bottle or wash out that salsa jar. Be lazy and save money, it’s a win-win. Besides, if you do these things now when the hurricane comes you can blame everyone else. It’s the American Dream, baby.