One of the
very few points of contention between my wife and myself
has to do with the socially correct subject of recycling.
Janice is scrupulous about dividing household waste between
the various categories distinguished by municipal bylaws.
Glass and plastics are a particular concern. Moreover,
every such item is dutifully washed and diligently scoured
before disposal, though buffing what goes into the back
of a garbage truck and crushed to a featureless pulver
does not make much sense to me. Nor, for that matter,
does recycling. I watch with some bemusement at her useless
expenditure of energy but am helpless before the spectacle
of devotion and innocent probity it represents.
back, I had an interesting conversation with the friendly
manager of our village garbage dump, who confided that
the ordinances requiring the separation of the various
kinds of refuse into separate bins and pits were nothing
but bureaucratic nonsense coupled with public virtue-signalling.
It made no ultimate difference to the disposal process,
which I had long suspected to be the case. Though I knew
that my efforts to relieve Janice of superfluous labor
were likely non-starters, I had thought the words of an
authority, a veritable scholar of waste management, on
the question might have an effect. It was not to be. Tins,
milk cartons, wine bottles and plastic containers of every
conceivable stripe continued to be scrubbed to a high
polish, and placed into the appropriate Tuff-Guy kitchen
bags before ending their now immaculate existence in one
of six different dumpsters. My argument was dismissed
as typically male indifference to the niceties of household
maintenance. Women always know better.
City Journal, John Tierney points out that even
Greenpeace now claims that recycling is a dead end. Recycling
plastic waste is environmentally harmful to reprocess,
is contaminated by toxic materials, and is not economical,
apart from being hopelessly impractical and labor-intensive.
Sending such waste materials to landfill is both cheaper
and provably less harmful to the environment, though it
will inconvenience those who “perform garbage-sorting
as a ritual of atonement, a sacrament of the green religion.”
Tierney does not mention the scandal of polypropylene
Covid masks, which not only do not prevent virion transmission
and lead to hypoxia and fungoid diseases, but will eventually
find their way to marine waters and can take centuries
to degrade. They cannot be recycled.
that the masks are an atrocity in every respect—ineffective,
unsightly, harmful, non-degradable, badges of driven servitude—but
the scalding and scraping of recyclables shows no sign
of abating. It is strange how a laudable virtue can be
at odds with a fact of reason. It occurs to me that it
is not only people whose minds have been ossified by ideology—those
subject to leftist petrifaction—but also good, honest,
and intelligent people, thinking conservatives like my
wife, for whom honor and rectitude can sometimes override
the obvious, however counter-intuitive.
I surreptitiously toss (unwashed) plastics-and-such away
with the collective garbage as a personal revolt against
the scam of recycling—while remaining, at best,
an unsung domestic hero.