Friday, December 14, 2007

Recycling Redux

Sometimes the greatest innovations have already been done. Recycling, extracting our junk into resources is probably one of the greatest hopes for curbing our environmental problems. No more landfills, no more toxins leaching into our ground and water, no more exporting toxic materials to the developing countries, no more waste--period.

Imagine taking everything we potentially throw away—steel, iron, paper, cardboard, computers, batteries, appliances, even house—and reusing everything. I mean everything, so that nothing gets wasted. Wouldn’t we be for the first time a responsible and thrifty society? Not really. It’s not such a wild new idea.

If lived through World War II, or watched The War - A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (2007) you know that massive recycling has been done before in the United States. You know that everyone, especially kids, will pitch in and learn how to extract and prepare everything not essential for the recycling project. You already know that these extracted items can be put in a place where the recyclers can get at them, where the recyclers can take them to industry to reuse them. Everything gets reused, nothing goes into the ground, less natural resources need to be ripped from our environment—sounds like an impossible dream, except that it’s already been done.

We can do it again if the public understands the importance and critical need for this to happen. When not only government, but industry remembers how to do this massive recycling, turning junk into new resources and products, our economy can thrive. Once galvanized recycling on the scale accomplished back in World War Two can be accomplished.

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