Why Recycle When You Can Refuse?

Each week a free paper is delivered to our home. Each week I walk it from the paper-box to the trash can. When my dad was alive, he would recycle these papers, but with shorter hours at the recycling center and higher gas prices, I often wondered if his efforts were worth it. Now the papers become instant garbage.Why Recycle When You Can Refuse?

I’ve received this paper for years. I never wanted it, read it, or used it (except as a fire-starter or for those projects whose cleanup benefited from the liberal use of newspaper).It may not be much, but if everyone does a little, it can really mean a lot. Click To Tweet

“Enough of this madness,” I said one day. Instead of feeling guilty about not recycling, I decided to skirt the issue by not receiving the paper in the first place. To be expedient, I removed the paper-box (and threw it away). Not to be deterred, the carrier merely put the paper in a different box. Next, I called the publisher; to my surprise, they cheerfully “canceled” my subscription. Two weeks have gone by and no more paper. Refusing the paper is much easier than recycling it.

Encouraged by this, I next tackled all the free magazines I received that I don’t want or read. Most of them I never even requested; they just started showing up—and kept showing up.

Another area of refusal—that I’ve been doing for years—is bags for the merchandise I buy. It perplexes me that even when I buy only one item, it’s automatically bagged. Checkers are shocked when I decline their bag or stunned when I remove my purchase from the bag, leaving it there for the next customer. I do the same thing with two or three items, though I don’t recommend more than six. I tried that once and the result wasn’t good. Sometimes you need a bag.

Refusing trumps recycling every time. It may not be much, but if everyone does a little, it can really mean a lot.

Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Check back each week for updated content, and look for his upcoming book, Woodpecker Wars.

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