Carrying Plastic to Philadelphia

July 22, 2011 at 11:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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To begin with, just so you know, they’re saying it’s going to be 100 degrees here today, and will feel like 110. It was 99 yesterday. But there’s no global warming, or climate change or anything. It’s normal for it to be this hot in NYC.

Meanwhile, we New Yorkers are getting on with our lives. One aspect of my life is a long-term effort not to put plastic in the landfills. Of course, here in the Big Apple, we are allowed to put “plastic bottles and  jugs” into the recycling, but  all other plastics are verboten. The Department of Sanitation makes it sound as if there really aren’t so many other kinds of plastics: “deli and yoghurt containers, styrofoam, plastic toys and furniture.” They fail to mention clear plastic food containers, containers for baby and moist wipes, frozen entrée trays, the plastic that toys and electronics come wrapped in, endless McDonald’s and Dunkin Donut containers, and on and on. Multiply these by seven million people and you’ve got some serious non-biodegradable land-fill.

I have found a solution, however. Some dear friends with whom I’ve been working on the Catholic women’s ordination issue for twenty years live a couple of hours south of here, in Philadelphia, and it just so happens that the City of Sisterly Love recycles all kinds of plastic. They even give residents reward points for recycling.So when I go down to Philly on the train to visit my friends, I take a bag or two of plastic with me, and Regina Bannan, with whom I stay, puts them in her recycling.  I had to stop doing this for a while when I broke my wrists, but now I’m accumulating quart yoghurt containers and frozen entrée trays again big time. I store them in the trunk of our beat up old Corolla between trips. My husband loves it. ( :

Now you may think that Philly can afford to do this is because it’s a much richer city that New York, but you would be mistaken. Fact is, Philly recycles because the Mayor, Michael Nutter, is committed to doing so. And Mayor Bloomberg has other concerns. Of course, if Bloomberg were in on this conversation, he might remind us that only 20% of New Yorkers bother to recycle what they are allowed to recycle, so why spend money saving the likes of me the trouble of hauling bags of plastic to Philadelphia? NYC did recently award a $45,000 grant so a group can continue to collect compost at a handful of greenmarkets across the city. That would be about .0001 % of the city budget, I reckon.

But why, when it is so hot, would anybody be concerned that we are dumping vast quantities of plastic into landfills which will then spew out more methane and make global warming even worse?

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