Recycle and reuse to keep our space clean

There is a lot of trash in California. In Madera County the Fairmead Landfill does what it can to recycle and then bury the rest. City residents pay for three color-coded receptacles to aid in the process. The grey containers are for household trash, the blue for recyclables and the green cans are for yard waste.

On a residents’ pickup day these cans are placed in a designated spot for curbside collection.

For some reason the terms trash and especially garbage have been replaced with the terms solid waste, debris and refuse. Is this because calling it garbage in some way insults the people who work in the industry? I thought that issue was covered when the garbage collectors were called sanitation engineers.

I find the California Redemption Value system for beverage containers confusing.

“According to aluminum, glass, plastic and bimetal beverage containers that require CRV are for beer and malt beverages, wine and distilled spirit coolers, vegetable juice containers 16-ounce or less in volume, carbonated and noncarbonated water, soda, mineral water, fruit drinks including those that contain fruit juice, noncarbonated soft and sports drinks, coffee and tea drinks.

Beverage containers exempt from the CRV rule include any product sold in a container that is not made of aluminum, glass, plastic and bimetal, wine or non-alcoholic wine bottles, milk, medical food, infant formula, vegetable juice in container of more than 16 ounces, 100 percent fruit juice in containers of 46 ounces or larger, distilled spirits and any beverage container product type that is not specifically included by the act,” the website said.

If the state is so concerned about too much trash in the landfills, they should eliminate these exemptions. It makes no sense that wine coolers must come in CRV containers but wine and spirits don’t. I haven’t been able to sleuth out why this is so. Do the wine and liquor industries have a better, stronger lobbyist than the beer and soft drink industry?

If more items required CRV, these containers would be profitable to recycle. Plastic milk bottles, canned goods, wine and liquor bottles should all have the same restrictions as soft drink containers. Instead those items are put in the blue cans for recycling.

Back in the dark ages of my youth, soft drinks came in glass bottles and the consumer paid a deposit on the containers at purchase. Some people drank the beverages but threw away the bottles. I remember the days when the deposit was five cents and the bottles could be returned to any store that sold the product. Collecting a few pop-bottles could earn a kid a tidy sum when the admission to the movies cost 50 cents and there were still nickel candy bars.

It seems like junk food came in two sizes, one cost a nickel and the other a dime. Soft drinks, potato chips and candy bars are some examples of the small and large variety. If a kid had a quarter they could buy enough penny candy that it could look like Halloween trick-or-treating came any day of the year.

The latest idea to come from the lawmakers in Sacramento is Assembly Bill 319. Assemblyman Mark Stone (D) of Scotts Valley is sponsoring a bill that if adopted would require beverage containers to have their caps tethered to the bottle. If passed and signed by the governor the bill would become law by 2020. The rationale being that if the cap was attached it would lessen the number that show up as litter.

We only have this one planet to live on and we really should take better care of it. Pollution contributed by humans has rendered many of the lakes and rivers toxic. Too many people refuse to pick up after themselves and they probably aren’t teaching their kids to do it either.

When I was a Girl Scout, before a day’s activities were considered finished we would all chip in to “police the area.” The idea being to leave a place better than you found it. Not only did they teach us to pick up our own garbage but any other trash that had been left behind.

Children learn by example. If you have kids teach them to pick up after themselves. Be a shiny example not a cautionary tale.

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Have a great weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.