I am an environmentalist, a member of organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Everglades, and I live a lifestyle involving active participation in preserving our planet’s resources. I recycle. I require all of my employees to recycle. I believe in recycling to the point there is a section in my company’s employee manual on recycling in our office. I have disciplined employees for failing to adhere to my company’s and my recycling requirements (even causing one overly sensitive employee to resign after repeatedly being reprimanded for throwing recyclables into the garbage can!). My employees are shown, soon after hiring, all of the recycling containers in the office, including under every employee’s desk, and are taken to the area recycling facility to orient them on where they will be driving with the weekly recycling materials. Of course, my spouse and I recycle at home, including taking care to show guests where to place their recyclables. My commitment to recycling doesn’t end when I am at work or home, however; my spouse and I have driven out of our way, for many miles, to find recycling centers in places where we are spending our vacation. My mother, having been raised during the Depression in the 1930s, always said, “waste not, want not” and practiced an early form of recycling (including re-using the picture part of old holiday cards and calendars) and I have obviously followed in her footsteps. My motto is “Be good to Mother Earth: Recycle.”
When home based recycling was first introduced in the area where we were living in 1987 I couldn’t believe we were being asked to separate our garbage. That seemed disgusting. But now it seems normal and I find myself frustrated when I can’t easily recycle bottles, paper, etc. I am disappointed that airports and hotels rarely have recycling bins. Sometimes I even drive my “trash” – recycling home on road trips just to put it in my own bins. And yes, in our office, much is recycled. Sometimes recycling means reusing – boxes received, for example, are good for several more trips through the postal system. And now, rather than feeling it is disgusting, I attempt to make a difference by recycling. (As an aside, I hope we can trust the recycling collectors to really process these materials as appropriate.) Having recently read a report of something like 270,000 tons of plastic trash in the oceans, we have to do what we can to reduce consumption and/or recycle. I started a recycling program while in graduate school at Georgia Tech in the early 1990s. I started one at a prior workplace so, even if your employer or school does not have provisions for recycling, you can take steps and make things happen. Taking such initiative in fact, should be rewarding both personally, and as an example for your employers of your efforts to improve the work environment. As the old slogan went, “Do your part, Pitch In.”
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