My name is Karen and I recycle most things that I buy.
I recycle plastic wrappers
I recycle on holiday
And I have been known to help out the odd cafe that doesn't recycle, by taking my bottles home with me to put in my recycling bin.
Is this a good habit or is it an obsession? Indeed, should I be worried that I am about to join the 7% of Americans, many of who have been deemed carborexic, as “dark green”, hard core recyclers and carbon footprint worriers with an obsession on their hands?
Being a zero waste enthusiast perhaps I do have a psychiatric condition. Perhaps I am obsessed. Having chatted to Three Countries Radio presenter Jonathan Vernon-Smith yesterday, one might be led to think so. And I can see his point? After all, what sane person would go out of their way whilst on holiday to find a recycling bank when there are far better things to do? Goodness, I'm already on my way to therapy.
But let's look at it another way.
- Do you stop being a vegetarian just because you're on holiday?
- Do you stop wearing a seatbelt when you go abroad?
- Do you stop cleaning your teeth when you're taking a day off work?
A vegetarian doesn't stop caring about their diet or animal welfare. Safety conscious drivers will continue to take basic precautions in case of an accident. As for cleaning your teeth, the risk of gum disease never takes a day off.
Now when it comes to recycling and the idea of zero waste, my thinking is this.
When I choose to buy something like a Diet Coke, I recognise two facts.
- A proportion of my money goes on the drink
- The rest of the money pays for the bottle
By recycling that item, it becomes an investment, ensuring the material can be reused, saving virgin resources from being extracted.
And this is still true, whether you're at home or away.
You don't even need to go out of your way. When we were on holiday in Switzerland, it only took seconds to drop off the bottles as we were passing the supermarket bottle bank on the way home. Just seconds, that's all, to do one thing that local residents would do every day.
One thing's for sure if we don't change the way we think now, environmental pressures will force us to take more urgent action in the future. In the meantime, I won't lose any sleep if I can't recycle my toothpaste tube or my crisp packets.
So, am I really so obsessed or is it a matter of being sensible?
Carborexic eh? The next thing they'll be telling me is that I've got a case of wasteophobia.
Good Grief, perhaps I have. Perhaps you have too. Anyway, I'll await the verdict and if I get taken away, I'll pray for a reprieve in a decade's time.