Please recycle, especially when it’s easy!!

recyclingLast week my trip to the airport went pretty badly. Actually, that’s not  true. Things  started going  badly once I got to the airport. I was running a  tiny bit late so I decided, since I was going on a quick overnight  trip, that I would use the airport valet parking instead of parking offsite like normal. The problem was that once I was there they told me that  it was full. I frantically circled around to the parking  garage. Also full. I finally found a spot at the back of the second, farther garage, and  raced to the  terminal. Because this  was  a mid-day flight I was not  expecting  super long  security lines. Wrong! The regular security line was not too bad but the Pre-check line was almost out the door. My flight was supposed to start boarding in ten minutes. So to say I was a bit grumpy would definitely be accurate.

As the Pre-check line inched on, I started looking around. The guy in front of me struck up  a conversation, so  we commiserated while we waited.The guy behind me had been busily typing on his phone, looking important and frustrated. After a particularly frantic bout of messaging, he reached into his bag for his water, took  a couple of sips, then walked over to the nearby trashcan and  threw it away, in the trash can that  was literally attached to a recycling can.

Now, you may not know this, but I am a big recycler. I am the person that takes all of  the  water bottles  home after a meeting because our meeting facility doesn’t have a recycling bin. I will take empty water bottles on the plane with me if the airport doesn’t  have recycling. You get the idea. So when I see someone throw something into a trash can when it takes them literally no extra effort to  recycle it makes me kind of crazy.

For people I know, I have no problem saying something. Or just going over  and taking their bottle out of the trash and putting it in the recycling. When it’s a stranger I typically just seethe inside. But I will  tell you, last  week  I was thisclose to giving him a piece of my (grumpy) mind. But even through  the red haze I realized that it wasn’t appropriate to  confront a stranger so I just turned around and ignored him.

I know that not everyone will go to the same lengths I do to recycle, but when it is literally zero extra effort please, for Pete’s sake,  just put your water bottle in the recycling can!! It doesn’t  hurt  you at all but does make a tiny difference for our planet.

Readers, do you try to recycle when you’re traveling?


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  1. If you fly out of Newark, Philly, JFK, Las Vegas, or Orlando (and others but I don’t remember as well), I have seen them (multiple times) dump the recycling bin into the trash bin then put it in their cart, mixing it all up. It’s the same thing most places do nowadays (schools, businesses, etc). So while I try to recycle personally at home, at those airports I don’t care as much, since I know they just throw it out anyway.

  2. friend who works at the dump here in vegas says all the trash goes to the same place. he said its too expensive to sort and recycle. we are all being duped once again.

  3. Ugh that makes me so sad.

    @brian don’t the trash cans at the airport in Vegas say that they sort everything for us? Or did I see that in a casino? I guess it doesn’t matter. What a bummer.

  4. There are recycling trash cans at the Vegas airport. After taking pics of recycling cans all over Europe for several months, and complaining that we need more of that at home, I was startled to see them almost as soon as I landed when my trip was done. I’ve got photos of them, too, but no way to share here. They are in groups of three, with one of each marked in big letters: CANS & BOTTLES, TRASH, PAPER.

    So if they are all going to the same place after that, it’s just ridiculous. Hopefully, it is just the unsorted trash all going to the same place. That puts the burden on us, but having the cans right there makes it easy…except for morons like the one mentioned in this post.

  5. Right, as brian points out, it’s meaningless. The fact that you have even bothered to post imploring others to indulge their fantasy that they are saving the world goes to show how far this ridiculousness as gone. People attaching their ego to their recycling skills is sad.

  6. Yes! I’m the same way about recycling! Especially when it’s that easy! Pay attention people, stop acting on autopilot! Start thinking! Doh!

    And yes, I’m also scared that it does end up being mixed together and dumped, which would be truly sad. But I still have hope!

  7. Goodness, who has time to worry about recycling running around at an airport trying to catch a plane? I never buy bottled water and don’t make a habit of generating piles of trash anyway, so I don’t worry about it at the airport. And I certainly wouldn’t seethe because someone else was dumping recyclables in a trash can. It’s none of my business. And when busy trying to get from A to B, recycling uses bandwidth that I just dont have. It is ridiculous expecting people to do so. Travel is stressful enough without voluntarily adding unnecessary chores.

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