Thursday, September 1, 2011


We didn't call it recycling back then, we called it returning for deposit.

  When I was a kid, I remember having to pay 2 cents deposit on every bottle in a 6 pack of soda.  We would save up the bottles, and when we brought them back to the store, a 2 cent per bottle was refunded to us.  The bottles themselves were sent back to the bottling company so they could be washed, sterilized, refilled and resold.  It was a cheap process and an efficient process, and it created thousands of jobs.  Now, days they don't charge deposit on glass bottles, but they do recycle glass.  Unfortunately they recycle by separating the glass bottles, first by color of course, then they crush the glass so that they have to completely re-manufacture new bottles out of the old ones.  Needless to say, a waste of time, money and energy.  The cost of this new and improved environmentally safer process is at least twice what it would be to just wash, sterilize and refill.  Oh, and guess what this new recycling process employs a lot less people.  In order to cut costs, plastic came on the scene, and now days almost everything you see that is dry, liquid or solid is somehow packaged in plastic.  Of course it only took these new Eco-friendly Green folks 30 years to realize what we already knew 50 years ago.  That is the fact that plastic, never, ever goes away, neither does Styrofoam.  Plain and simply put, glass can still be washed, sterilized and refilled with whatever came in them in the first place, or some other product for that matter.  Okay, if drop a glass bottle, it will break, years ago, we swept it up, and moved on.  Even if you chose to recycle glass, if you put broken glass and a couple rocks in a cement mixer, turn it on for a few hours, and miraculously it turns right back into sand.  I remember walking the streets and the alleys and parking lots as a young man, we weren't looking to get into trouble, we were collecting glass bottles to take to the store for the deposit money.  So not only were we recycling but we were helping to clean up the neighborhoods of unsightly trash in the process.  It was in essence a two-fold endeavor with two-fold results.  We didn't have to think about it, we didn't have have meetings and environmental clubs, we just did it for the deposit money, which gave us spending money to perhaps purchase another bottle of soda pop, save the bottle for deposit, etc., etc., etc.  You see how that system worked?  Sure, grocery stores had to set aside space for holding empties, but every couple of days when the bottling companies would deliver the newly refilled soda cases, they would also pick up the empties.  Was is a perfect set up?  No, but it did keep people working, everyone from the kid collecting the bottles from the streets and alleys, to the people in the sterilization plant, to the soda bottlers, they all had jobs, and there were no 20 story high piles of plastic bottles sitting in land-fill areas.  
  Hey, remember waxed paper?  My mom would make our school lunches, PB and J (peanut butter & jelly) sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper.  Placed in a paper lunch bag.  Okay, once in awhile mom would give us a bologna and cheese with a pickle that would always leak through the waxed paper, and the paper lunch bag.  But, after lunch, all the waxed paper, and paper lunch bags went into the school incinerator and it would all burn into little teeny tiny bits of ash.  Bio-degradable ashes, that were taken away once a week to a land fill, as far as I know, not one land fill was ever actually filled with ash that would not eventually dissipate.  If my memory serves me correctly, the entire city of Oakland, CA. is built on landfill.  I don't think you can build a city on a land fill filled with plastic bottles, now could you?
  Hey, remember paper grocery bags?  I do, we used to use them for lining the garbage cans in our kitchens.  Another way of using an item for several purposes.  Sure, taking out the garbage was a dreaded chore, especially if it was allowed to sit too long, leaking fruit juice, or coffee grounds and if you had fish for dinner two nights ago, look out!!!  We all took turns taking out the trash, and we all lived through.  No diseases from the unsanitary conditions either.  Now we have plastic bags, use them once for groceries from the store, and throw them away.  We have specialized sizes of plastic trash bags, use them once, and off to the land fill they go to sit and perhaps in thousand years will begin to breakdown into the toxic chemical it was originally made from.
  I keep hearing about this whole new concept of renewable energy.  I've got news for you new scientists and ecologists, paper does come from a renewable source, it's called trees, and trees grow.  Anything that comes from trees, can be used over and over again.  Paper can be printed and written on, paper can wrap things, paper can be burned for heat, and if left alone, will breakdown to a bio-degradable substance called wood fiber.  Wood and paper rot and replenishes the soil.  
  By now you all probably think that I've turned into one of those anti-plastic environmentalists, well I'm not, really I'm not!  There is certainly a place for plastic in our modern society.  The medical field alone is the most fertile ground for the proponents and defense of the uses for plastic.
  This is what I am:  I am a 62 year old man who doesn't want to "go green".  As a matter of fact just the phrase "Go Green" makes me want to puke.  America's society was already green when I was growing up, then the scientists turned us into plastic fanatics, and now the scientists are touting this green plan, like it was something the liberals of the world just invented.  Well, I'm here to tell you, you didn't just invent "ecology", you just invented the new name for what people in my day simply referred to as "common sense".  
  If science wants to concentrate on something worthwhile, try making trees grow faster, without of course making them glow in the dark, you know what I mean.  Take half the plastics industries and turn them back into glass industries.  If you can find ways to recycle plastic then you can come up with a clean way to recycle paper, wood products and metals.  None of this research should be done by the federal government, but by private industry.  Scientists, inventors, entrprenures, go to grand pa's attic, dust off his thinking cap, put it on and invent something!  Keep in mind, if you invent something that is better and less expensive than anything already out there, you'll become wealthy over night.  For example, we, at least all of us with some common sense know that ethanol is not, and will never be a viable alternative to oil and gasoline.  So why waste time and money on something that won't work, and requires the burning of the world's food supply in the process.  Make something that works, and works better, and people will flock to use it, they won't have to be forced to use a government inspired loser like ethanol, and our farmers can go back to the task of feeding the worlds hungry.
God Bless This Nation
Thanks for listening!
The Watchman  

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