Friday, July 10, 2009

Four is better than one.

I have had opportunity to travel to a few different states over the last few months – spending time at a variety of locations from campgrounds to conference centers. The past three weeks, in particular, I have had the opportunity to be on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Every place I visit has trash receptacles, waste baskets, dumpsters, refuse containers. Human persons generate “trash” – a large volume of it from a variety of sources. Of course this is true. Every place has containers to deal with this human reality.

But, only a few of the places I have visited have clear containers and prepared intentional plans for some form of recycling.

Where I have been for the past three weeks, at Calvin College – my observation is that in every campus hallway – in all campus buildings – they offer – side-by-side, not one, but four options for disbursing of one’s trash. At each location where a receptacle is offered – there is the option for me to disburse my trash as “metal” – “plastic” – “paper” – or – “trash.”

As I walk by the containers, of course I have the option of dumping all my refuse into the “trash” container. I am not forced to use the “trash” and no one stands behind me or beside me to guide my use of the “metal” – “plastic” – or “paper” receptacles.

I have no idea *how* this particular campus clears the containers – sort the matter that makes its way into the containers – nor how they work with local agencies toward community wide recycling practices.

But, it matters to me that they give options. I value the places where local governments, agencies, public policy, campus practices, or individual businesses give options.

When I am *only* provided with trash cans as I travel – I am seriously limited from any consideration toward practices of recycling. It is nearly impossible, as an individual traveler to recycle as I travel from place to place. But, when I am given even just four options for separating out my refuse, I do *not* *refuse* to participate – I freely participate.

Offering options would not compel or force or require persons to recycle – but, offering options does work toward eupan.

Four options – as simple as “metal” – “plastic” – “paper” and “trash.” These options are eupan approved!

Thanks to those places I have visited that make eupan more likely to become effective in some way. My thanks to Calvin College in particular.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

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