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She Was Astounded at the Massive Amounts of Stuff

Our Earth is no different, in that like most things, we take it for granted, until we don’t have it.

Compared to many parts of the US, Oregon’s recycling programs are stellar. If you vacation in a state that doesn’t recycle, having only a garbage can for your used water bottle is unsettling. It feels right that recycling is part of our local culture.

But recycling or not recycling isn’t the only thing that interferes with the well-being of our planet. It’s

  • How we recycle

  • What we recycle

  • And the massive consumption that ends up in the landfill.

A friend recently told me about her experience going to the dump. She was astounded at the massive amounts of stuff. I call it stuff because a good portion is garbage only because it’s been placed there. Much of what is taken to the dump is usable items. I’m not talking about stained threadbare furniture, but rather perfectly good items that were replaced for a variety of reasons I won’t list here.

If it were up to me, every student and all staff would take a field trip to the dump at one point in their grade school and high school experience. In addition to placing recycle bins in key areas of the school and making artwork for Earth Day once a year, recycle, reuse, and renew would be at the core of best practices in our schools. What better way to teach Math, Science, Personal Finance, and Home Ec?! Additionally, cleaning personnel would instruct and expect the correct placement of recycling and garbage.

I personally would like to lead a Metro field trip with my adult friends. Peeking out of the garbage piles are couches, headboards, dishes, cups, computers, TVs, sewing machines, highchairs, tools, tables, desks, lamps, pictures, clothes… you get the idea. The dump is a sobering experience. Call me if you’d like to go!

It takes effort, for sure, to manage all our stuff. I’m not perfect by any means. I do some grumbling at times when I’m sorting or managing the distribution of things, to save it from the landfill. But I sleep better at night when I’m doing the best that I can. Below are a few resources that might help when you’re making decisions.

Walker Garbage - Provides a list of what is curbside recyclable and what is garbage

Oregon Metro - Greater Portland area list of what is curbside recycle and what is garbage

Recycle + - Washington County - an extra effort in recycling those things that are not curbside recyclable

FB Buy Nothing - A community group that exchanges items for free

Junkluggers - A junk removal company that finds a place for your things

Goodwill - We all know Goodwill. I’m grateful for what they take, process for us, and their training programs for the unemployed

On this Earth Day, I hope you can enjoy its beauty in some shape or form, and make one tiny change in how you care for it, too.

Lake Billy Chinook at Sunset

The Deschutes River

As a personal assistant, I do my best to steer people in the direction of recycle, reuse, and renew (or repurpose).


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