11 04 2010

When Aretha Franklin sang what became her signature song, little did she know it would one day be tied to Mother Earth. But with Earth Day’s 40th anniversary rapidly approaching (on the 22nd), more and more companies are jumping on the “RE” bandwagon by offering recycling programs at their local stores.

And it’s about time.

Target and Whole Foods are the latest to announce expanded programs, which include everything from cans and bottles to cork. Walmart already has recycling bins at many of its stores, so these new efforts are nice complements. I’m thinking we may have now reached tipping point.

Here in the Amarillo area, recycling has been a tough row to hoe. The most common rebuttal is that it is simply not cost-effective. This just in: It’s not about cost, you dunderheads! It’s about respecting our planet. Mount Trashmore outside Canyon will be with us forever, testament to our profligate and careless materialistic ways. Its sister peak just northwest of Amarillo, although a little more out of visual sight range from town, is even larger.

Maybe someday an enterprising person can turn it into a recreation area. Add a lift and some fake snow, and we will eliminate our need to go to New Mexico or Colorado.

The marketing value of companies embracing recycling is huge. Critics may scoff and say that this is mere window dressing, a prop in the drama of looking good. But I don’t care. Even if Target is merely posturing, the posture is one that will benefit our planet. And in the process, it will keep this place habitable for my children’s children.

I realize that in an area heavily dependent on agriculture for its economy, anything green is a hard sell. Face it. The Texas Panhandle is home to numerous feedyards and dairy operations, all of which produce enough toxic runoff to make the Love Canal look like a fun place to swim. Add in all the chemicals used for farming and you quickly realize this is a showcase for DuPont’s “better living through chemistry” mantra.

Maybe I’ve been hanging around too many tree-hugging, granola-munching, TOMS-wearing people these days, but I think it is high time we all REconsider this issue. It is cavalier to think we can just keep on throwing it all away.

I think I hear Mother Nature singing in the distance. “All I’m askin’ is for a little respect when you get home.” I hear ya, lady. And I’m taking my trash to the store.

Dr “Paper or Plastic? Neither” Gerlich




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