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At the end of the work day, when I leave, the stroll takes me past one person's office where the trash can is left out for the custodial staff to handle.  If the staff hasn't gotten to it just then, I usually notice a plastic drink bottle there (PETE #1, usually).  So what does 3CM the loser do?  Well, as if you can't guess, if no one is looking, he quickly reaches in and plunks the bottle out, and takes it to the recycling container for plastic bottles in the common area.

Fitting opener, since we just passed the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  Yet the repeatedly tossed PETE bottle is symptomatic of how too many of us carelessly squander the Earth's resources, illustrated on a much bigger scale in terms of plastic in the recently discovered North Atlantic Garbage Patch (also diaried on DK here and here.  More pointless plastic-themed musings below the flip....

In fact, none of us have to see pictures of either the North Atlantic or Great Pacific Garbage Patches to see how we're trashing the planet and ruining it for all the other species.  You probably see single random plastic bottles on the street, in parks or other public spaces every day.  I got a harsh reminder of this a while back when I was waiting to catch the bus one day.  A few feet from the curb was a scattered slew of plastic bottles.  In my younger days, I might have been motivated to get back to that area with work gloves and a trash bag, and pick up the bottles to take to the recycling center.  But of course, I didn't go back and clean it up.  (I was waiting to take the bus at the time.)

The same thing happens at my once-a-week trip to the gym, when I see a trash can with a number (varies from week to week) of bottles there.  If I can (and again, when no one is looking), I'll retrieve as many as I can carry and get them to the recycling center.  You get the idea.

Not everyone is as nerdly/loserly about recycling as self, as illustrated by comments in a column last April by the Post-Dispatch's Debra D. Bass, about why people don't recycle:

"I have another friend who doesn't recycle because it seems too complicated. She said that she's afraid of doing it wrong so she doesn't bother. Another simply said, recycling is boring."

The other, unstated reason, illustrated by all those bottles on the streets, is that people who toss those bottles are lazy.  One line in this NYT article this past Earth Day has this tiny statistical nugget about recycling rates of plastic bottles by Americans:

"....Keep America Beautiful, an antilittering nonprofit organization, will introduce 'dream machines,' recycling kiosks it is introducing with PepsiCo. The machines are meant to increase the recycling rates for beverage containers, which is estimated at about 36 percent nationwide."

Sindya Bhanoo has this NYT blog post with conflicting stats over the percentage of recycling plastic bottles:

"[Annie Leonard] goes on to say that 80 percent of plastic bottles end up in landfills or are burned in incinerators.

But the International Bottled Water Association, using different statistics, says that water bottles are the nation's most recycled plastic container, with a 30.9 percent recycling rate."

Even if you accept the IBWA's value, that means that 69.1% of plastic bottles don't get recycled.  Either way, 69.1% or 80%, a majority of plastic bottles get trashed.  That's bad no matter which value you go with.

When I try to save what little I can, it can feel downright dispiriting to realize that it doesn't make a huge difference and I'm not saving it all.  Of course, every little bit helps, which is why one does it.  But it doesn't always work out, like from this local report last April, when the tanking economy shrank demand for recyclables.  People still take the stuff in, to be cure, as when I go, just about once a month, like Bass, to unload recyclables, there's plenty of plastic in the big cardboard boxes to hold them, not to mention glass bottles (sorted by color), paper, aluminum cans, and steel cans.  One wonders what would happen if the US actually recycled a majority of plastic.  We're not at all like the situation in Denmark, as exemplified by a line from that recent article on trash incineration in Denmark, after all the recyclables have been taken out for recycling, of course:

"In Denmark, local governments run trash collection as well as the incinerators and recycling centers, and laws and financial incentives ensure that recyclable materials are not burned. (In the United States most waste-to-energy plants are private ventures.) Communities may drop recyclable waste at recycling centers free of charge, but must pay to have garbage incinerated.

At Vestforbraending, trucks stop on scales for weighing and payment before dumping their contents. The trash is randomly searched for recyclable material, with heavy fines for offenders."

Never gonna happen here, right?

Anyway, it's the Saturday night after Earth Day, and you know the drill (well, the regulars among you do), namely time for your loser stories of the week below.....

Originally posted to chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:31 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  possible cover needed next week.... (9+ / 0-)

    Self might be overbooked for next Saturday night, so if anyone feels up for a May Day/"Losers of the world, unite" SNLC next week, it's all yours.  Or if not, I'll figure something out.

    OK, from here:  the other day, the weather predicted rain in mid-afternoon, but not in early evening, when I was going to bike home.  Guess when it actually started raining....

    "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

    by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:30:18 PM PDT

    •  Every time I see your username (3+ / 0-)

      I cringe.

      I have no doubt you have a proper explanation otherwise you wouldn't have lasted so long here, but just the same...

      It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:38:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think his username (4+ / 0-)

        is amusing. He is of Asian descent, so I see no problem with calling himself that.  It's so anti-PC, it's funny.

        •  that's sort of the reason :) (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          maryb2004, lorzie, jlms qkw, allep10

          I had the slightly off-kilter inspiration, when whatever daemon caused me to register on DK, to chose such an un-PC name for myself, since as you noted, I am of Asian descent.  Plus, it's a name that if anyone else who was obviously a bigot called me that, I would, to put it mildly, take offense.  However, if I refer to myself as that, then, well....

          I suppose there's some sort of reverse upside-down hypocrisy in it, after a fashion, as well, or something like that.

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:50:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, it makes me cringe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chingchongchinaman

          anyway and I don't find it very funny.  

          It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

          by Radiowalla on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:16:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  as noted above; other contrast, perhaps.... (0+ / 0-)

            ....is between the signame and the quality of writing, since one of the very few things that I feel comfortable bragging about is that I write rather well.  In other words, there is the cognitive dissonance between the signame, associated with a person not fluent in the given language, and the writing by said person, which is pretty fluent.

            "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

            by chingchongchinaman on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:26:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  From a marketing standpoint, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chingchongchinaman

              I doubt that your username draws a lot of people to your diaries, especially if they don't know you.  When a diary is listed all you see is the title and the name of the diarist and then you have to make a decision if you are going to click it.

              Mind you, I don't really care about this and don't know why I happened to mention it today for the first time.  It is just something that has irked me for a long time.  

              Carry on.

              It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!

              by Radiowalla on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 09:35:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  some back story on SNLC may be in order (0+ / 0-)

                The original Saturday Night Loser's Club series pre-dated me, and was actually the brain-child of the now-moved on Kossack spoon or no spoon, intended as sort of a light-hearted snarkfest for people to whine in a given week about what losers we all are, in the sense of "I was cooking pasta and tripped over the dog, which sent the pasta flying and then I slipped on the floor" kind of stuff.  When I took over, I kind of went my own way with it.  FWIW.

                "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

                by chingchongchinaman on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 11:06:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  explanation (sort of) to follow below.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maryb2004, jlms qkw

        ....or maybe above, depending on the hierarchy of comment trees in DK diaries.  Of course, my explanation may not be "proper", in the Tom Stoppard On the Razzle sense, or any other :) .

        "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

        by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:46:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  oh hai! (4+ / 0-)

    recycling, and scavenging for recyclables, is not so loserly.  

    son had an earth day activity to pick up trash in and near their playground at school.  he brought home his rubber glove and told me how happy he was to have used it, to protect himself from stuff.  of course, the rubber glove was in his lunch box.  ;-)  

    the weather folks here have been loserly all week, in terms of their ability to predict what was happening in the next 3 to 6 hours.  

    "Gloom we always have with us . . . but joy requires tending." Barbara Holland

    by jlms qkw on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:46:42 PM PDT

  •  I'm such a loser (3+ / 0-)

    that I'm up counting my votes for the Netroots Nation scholarship and I saw that if I got eleven more votes I'd be in fourth place instead of fifth.

    I wonder if eleven people in this thread would give me a vote? Link is in my sig.

    Vote for me to win a Netroots Nation Scholarship! I'm in 5th place!

    by indiemcemopants on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:52:36 PM PDT

  •  Political correctness (3+ / 0-)

    butters no parsnips for me.

    If chingchongchinaman is good enough for CCC, then it's good enough for me.

    What is the "Why?"?

    by BardoOne on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 08:59:35 PM PDT

    •  given a choice, however.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlms qkw, BardoOne

      .....as silly as the PC crowd can be sometimes, so many right-wingnuts claim "we're not PC" as a cloak for their own bigotry that I'd pretty much be tipped, by default, away from the wingnuts towards the other side.  My understanding is that "political correctness" as a term actually originated on the left, as a way of liberal-lefties to make fun of themselves for their oh-so-earnestness at times.

      In any case, to quote Colonel Klink, "your protest is noted - hmph". ;)

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 09:08:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  i'm such a loser (3+ / 0-)

    i'm subbing for Neon Vincent's OND tonight, and next Saturday night too.  Next Saturday is my daughter's birthday.  Can I have a winnerly SNLC?  

    i am having trouble with marathon training, due to blisters and travel and migraines, but i am going to see how it goes tomorrow and may change to the two half marathons instead.  

    "Gloom we always have with us . . . but joy requires tending." Barbara Holland

    by jlms qkw on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 09:01:34 PM PDT

    •  no one else can cover..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlms qkw

      ....OND for you next week?  The last thing you should need to worry about on your daughter's b-day is diarying on DK.

      If all else fails, next Saturday night, I can post SNLC, hang a few minutes, but then run off to whatever it is that I'd be running off to.  I can come up with sort of May Day theme, I suppose.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 09:10:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  oh, ond posts after her normal bedtime (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chingchongchinaman, allep10

        so i didn't worry about that.  and her big party is at our local arboretum on the 7th.  and i have two id's here so i could post both.  

        i just don't feel very loserly about may day in general - international workers day is a HUGE win, daughter's birthday is a HUGE win, and even traditional USA stuff like may baskets and may poles are . . . nice.  

        "Gloom we always have with us . . . but joy requires tending." Barbara Holland

        by jlms qkw on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 09:21:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OK, 1 out of 2 is convenient for you (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jlms qkw

          If you think you'd be up for 2 diaries in a day, you'd be welcome to cover SNLC, but that might be too much to ask.  Writing the SNLC per se isn't the issue for me, since I always write them in advance (even if it's just that morning), but it's just that I won't be around much to respond to and mojo comments.  The other alternative is simply that I write it for next week, post it, respond to the first few comments, and then you or others just monitor and keep the conversation/mojo going from there.  That actually might be better for all concerned.  Sound OK?

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 09:41:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Quite a storm earlier today (4+ / 0-)

    sorry to hear you were caught in it.  You were nowhere near West County Mall I hope, I heard a tornado might have touched down there.

    I've been catching up on TV I missed this week due to the rest of my week being less loserly than today.  And I've finally started watching the last season of The Wire.

    •  oh wait, not the storm today.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryb2004, jlms qkw, allep10

      I was on the bike riding home in the mild rain a few days ago.  Today, I was inside when the big rain storm hit.  In fact, the (free) concert I was listening to had to be halted for 20 minutes, because the rain was pelting the roof so much that it wasn't worth fighting the sound.  I wasn't anywhere near West County Mall, but if that's true about the tornado, wow.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 09:15:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I went to one of NYC's hottest nightspots (3+ / 0-)

    tonight, and they had glass bottles of water on the tables for the patrons with labels saying "Eau de Bloomberg". On the label they explained how the tap water in NYC is rated highest in quality in the country and how plastic bottles are a scourge on the environment.

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 03:23:04 AM PDT

    •  hmm, interesting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      milkbone

      Do the glass bottles get recycled, though?  I dread to think how much landfills could get reduced if every bar and restaurant in the country recycled even half the glass and plastic that they trash.

      "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

      by chingchongchinaman on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:11:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, they were the refillable type (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chingchongchinaman

        with stoppers like the ones on the Grolsch bottles, and they looked pretty heavy and expensive, so my guess would be yes.

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 04:10:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  so in other words, those bottles.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          milkbone

          ....actually get re-used, rather than tossed for recycling?

          "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

          by chingchongchinaman on Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 06:16:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As far as I can tell, yes. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chingchongchinaman

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 06:26:06 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  interesting, after seeing those bottles.... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              milkbone

              ....in restaurants, since it makes sense to continue to use them.  I have a souvenir beer bottle from Germany of that style, collecting dust on a shelf.

              "It's only in books that the officers of the detective force are superior to the weakness of making a mistake." (Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone)

              by chingchongchinaman on Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 10:23:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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