Does it Really Matter?

November 19, 2015 — Leave a comment

recycleYears ago I had an intriguing conversation with a recent Engineering graduate. Well, come to think of it I’ve had several intriguing conversations with engineers!

She told me that she had worked on a project for one of her classes – the outcome was simple: answer the question you were then asked at the local grocery store as you checked out – paper or plastic?

The project was to determine which really was the best answer for the planet. As she shared her findings, I have to admit they were a bit unsettling though they make perfect sense.

The answer: plastic! Shocked? At first I was as well. Ah, but there’s a catch – there’s always a catch. Plastic is the best answer ONLY if people will actually recycle those bags. So there’s a moral decision attached to even that simple question.

In reality it takes far less resources and energy to produce and recycle plastic bags than it does to create and recycle paper bags. But we don’t like that answer, because then it places the decision squarely back on our shoulders.

If we, as a people, are not going to recycle – then we might as well just continue to harvest trees and produce paper bags. An internal decision is required along with a change in our thinking.

And we don’t always like it when we need to change the way we think.

So what changes to your thinking are you facing?

Why can’t we encourage more people to recycle sending less to the landfills?


Categories: recycle; engineers










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