EATING AN ELEPHANT

It’s natural to feel hopeless when you are surrounded by inequality, political corruption and unrest, and economic uncertainty, not to mention slow-but-sure destruction of the planet from pollution and global warming.  A fav self-help book offers this advice: “Don’t let all the things you can’t do stop you from doing the things you can do.”

Recycling is one small thing I can do, but commercial recyclers tend to be picky about what they will take (#1 and #2 plastics that are bottle-shaped).  Reusable shopping bags were my go-to until COVID-19 hit.  Many stores don’t offer paper, and I end up with more throwaway plastic bags than I could ever reuse.  In response to push-back from environmentalists, some chains have initiated take-backs.  The Kroger near us expanded their program to include all sorts of flimsy plastics.  Clean, dry items can be dropped in a dedicated container in their lobby to be recycled into composite decking and lumber.  It took time to train myself to check their list and not just toss bags and wraps and packing materials willy-nilly into the trash.  I saved up my plastics for six months before I dropped them off, and I was astounded to discover that my cache filled three 39-gallon lawn and leaf bags!  Yikes!

PLASTICS THEY’LL TAKE
(sing to the tune of My Favorite Things)

Bags from my shopping and bread and dry cleaning
Bags made for boiling and microwave steaming
Liners from Cheerios and Frosted Flakes
These are some plastics reclaimers will take

Overwrap binding those by-the-case bargains
Ice Mountain water and Bounty and Charmin
Wraps on cheese singles, between minute-steaks
These are some plastics reclaimers will take

Air-pillow packing and bubble-wrap mailers
Ziplocs and food wrap and sleeves from newspapers
Film from Hot pockets and Hostess cupcakes
These are some plastics reclaimers will take

Now that I know,
it will all go
to the Kroger store
to be hauled away,
then compressed and remade
into plastic 2 x 4’s

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