Time for Some Action!
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The Tropical Side of Recycling & Your Plastic Life

While planning vacations, extended stays and sabbaticals we search high and low for important amenities like restaurants, specialty markets, rental locations and more to meet our daily “needs.” Time to add recycling center to that travel list.

Say Whaaaat?

When Garden Eats recently arrived to our hip Maui vacation home, we were impressed with the amenity list ready for us. Along with the cool decor and oasis of a backyard, the gent renting to us had thought of everything a house should include. As we toured around, he even mentioned their conservational efforts by transitioning natural ventilation with the ac… When we asked about the garbage and recycling though, the reply was stunning, “oh just throw it all in the garbage, we don’t recycle here.” Say what? I thought, “…who doesn’t recycle? Surely a small island off the Pacific must?!”

To a conscientious environmentalist like myself, hearing this actually made my ears burn. Anyone who knows me is more than familiar with my feelings on and practices of re-purposing, re-cycling and re-using. If you’re not doing it thoroughly, I tend to think you’re either lazy or crazy. Claiming to not know about recycling falls under being lazy. How difficult is it to turn over a bottle to see if the number allows for recycling?

Luckily, we’re resourceful and experienced travelers so we didn’t accept this as the final say and discovered a recycling center less than two miles away.

Big Man In a Little Coat

Take a look at the image above. That collection of garbage, I mean recycling was produced after living for five days among four people. We stayed an additional two and created three more bags. Imagine if everyone who visited Maui tossed their garbage into the primary trash-it might end up in the un-tasty soup you’ll read about below. Good news though for anyone about to visit Maui -they offer a deposit back on practically everything you deliver. To their surprise we donated our return to the recycling center!

Plastic Soup

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, AKA Plastic Soup is a giant island of plastic in the Pacific ocean, twice the size of Texas.

Living by the ocean for the past ten years has drawn my attention particularly to my personal care behaviors, how I clean my home and in what ways I dispose of my garbage. Bottom line, what you put in the drain or the garbage will eventually end up downstream and, what ends up downstream eventually ends up back in YOU!

I’ve written before on what has grossly been named, Plastic Soup or the several gigantic floating masses of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. First discovered by the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, turns out Hawaii is no stranger to this oceanic mess.

The 1,500 mile long Hawaiian archipelago is unlucky enough to be situated in the midst of this swirling mass of junk, and many of its beaches are miserably festooned with discarded plastics that don’t quite make the big patch party. The Northwest Hawaiian Islands, the world’s largest protected marine sanctuary, is awash in floating trash and endangered native fish, birds, monk seals, and other irreplaceable indigenous species ingest it and are sickened, maimed and/or killed as a result.

Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s Community Website

YOU the Environmentalist

Here’s the deal, it’s 2011 and there’s no excuse for not recycling. None. If your town, city or neighborhood doesn’t have a facility, start one. If your landlord doesn’t pay for it, keep a box of it for a few weeks and turn it over to a friend or family member who does. Most cities charge a very practical fee for the containers while not for the actual service so be sure to check with yours if you don’t already have in-home bins and containers. Want to start recycling at work? Try this!

Most cities allow you to recycle:

newspapers
printed papers
sticky note paper
labels
plastic bottles and containers (see which numbers your city accepts)
plastic lids from coffee cups
cardboard coffee cups
cardboard insulator surrounding coffee cups
coffee tray/holders
plastic utensils
toilet and paper towel rolls
pizza boxes
paper bags
glass bottles and broken glass
aluminum cans

Seeing Is Believing

If gross images exploiting the land and marine life are what you need to take some action, there’s a bevy of them here.

Future Tide

Check back soon for my guest post at Pure Mamas where I’ll be answering reader questions on co-existing with marine life and how the ocean is swimming with the future of health care as we know it.

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This entry was posted in: Time for Some Action!

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C H R I S T I N E Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID and Garden Eats is an integrative health & food therapy specialist, medical & food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. To balance the more serious side of her work, she loves to concoct, write about and connect people through food & drink. You can check out her latest work at The Chalkboard Magazine, The Fullest and Rochester's Boomtown Table. Christine lives, works and plays between Southern California & Upstate New York.

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