Jan 26, 2006

A church to which I will never belong

The church of recycling.

And what a holier-than-thou group of congregants partake of the communion of recycling! Where I work, recycling is not mandatory but those who wish to can drive their recyclables over to a special dumpster located some distance away from our building. Two of my coworkers dutifully save their cardboard, cans and paper and take turns trundling the stuff over to the recycling center. The trip to the recycling center is heralded with as much fanfare as grace before meals. First the announcement, then the gathering of the holy cardboard, then the loading into the car and the drive over. Recently, it was suggested that we all recycle and take turns going to the center. I refused. I don't recycle, I said, I'm morally opposed to it.

Now, I could show them the figures, but facts don't much matter when you're a true believer.

The recycling congregants are great missionaries, too. "Reduce, reuse, recycle," they proclaim to all who will listen. And that especially includes your children.

I started working for a local New Jersey newspaper not too long after the garbage barge completed its 74-day odyssey and the state introduced mandatory recycling. A local wildlife center to which area schoolchildren made regular field trips took it as their mission to promote the three Rs.

We must have gotten a call a week to do a story on some middle school child who started a recycling program in his or her school. I cannot tell you the dread I felt upon being forced yet again to take a notebook and a photographer over to listen to some Stepford kid earnestly recite the litany of reasons why this program was crucial: The lack of landfill space, the fact that plastic WILL NEVER DECOMPOSE!!!! The waste, the waste, the wanton waste!!!!!

Very scary stuff.

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