-Do you recycle?
-Objection, your honor!
-All right counselor, rephrasing. Do you ASSORT your garbage?
Oh shit! That’s a tricky question always subject to judgment depending on who’s come up with this topic of discussion and the participants involved. Being honest or cheating in your answers might curse or save you for being finger pointed and criticized or preached.
I will open the debate explaining my current mixed feelings on this subject.
To start with, I reckon I’ve been assorting for a decade a least, first I started with paper, then with glass and finally plastic and organic too. It took me time and insistence till my parents started assorting and I’m proud to say they’re very committed, especially since there were proper containers available place at 5m from home.
What’s the system I follow? The basic: one bin for organic stuff, another for plastic, paper and cardboard straight to a clothing bag, and glass into another resistant bag. Sure there are better ways, but I try my best, and consider the reduced dimension of my kitchen, I’m positive it’s not so bad. The corner assigned for assorting is quite prominent, uncomfy, but it works at the time being.
Japan is the country with citizens most committed to recycling I’ve ever seen in my life. When I was there, I soon realized there were no waste bins on the streets, only outside 7-11 stores and quite few in some tube stations. I asked my friend Shingo and he explained that most people keep their trash until they arrive home, where they can assort properly.
According to some conversations and other comments read on the net, there are 10 average assorting categories Japanese must comply with (in Kamikatsu there are 44!). Citizens are educated to accomplish the rules of assorting, and if you don’t meet the expectations, you can be reported to the authorities. We are light years away from their recycling model, or let’s say routine or habit.
Things couldn’t be more different in Spain. Recycling is a subject full of gaps and not very clear to the population, and I’m not just talking of education, I mean all the waste management and proper recycling process. Private, public? At the end of the day we do not receive much feedback, nor support and of course, we’re not educated.
I still remember glass bottles returned to the convenienve store in exchange of few coins or the discount in the following purchase of bottles. That was an efficient system because we felt rewarded, and bottles were easily returned to the starting point to repeat the process.
Companies pay high taxes for waste to be recycle, and average citizen has to pay city taxes, being a part forwarded to this management. Constant rumor is that garbage is mixed upon arrival and there’s an assorting process at the recycling plant.
I’m starting to understand all these people who at some point decided to quit assorting based on the previous statement. They don’t do it because tax paid are considered to be too high, and no compensation of any kind is received.
I’ve been seriously pounding the possibility of stopping myself, but at the end of the day I go on doing as usual, because I’m so used to it, this home process is not too difficult and I know I’ll feel better better with myself.
I only ask for few things: support, information and less shitty recycling ad campaigns, which sometime cause the opposite impression in the audience,
-Yes, sir, I do. I do assort garbage.