Going to the recycling plant was very interesting. What was most striking is the realization that the plant is foremost a business, not an environmental cause. I think a lot of people, including myself, initially think of the recycling industry as “the good people,” —out to save the planet; but they are really just mining resources, and they will only go so far. I think streamlining a recycling system, and creating clear material standards to make the whole process easier is a very good idea.

Seeing human beings sort through others’ recycling (and garbage) confirmed what had originally just been my imagination. It forces me to think even harder about what I put in the blue can because I know now that it will directly affect other people. I now try to make their jobs as easy as possible. I don’t recycle plastic grocery bags at home. I separate materials as much as I can. I throw away materials I (now) know they won’t use. Realizing that certain materials are worthless after their one-time use, my focus is shifting to what I purchase in the store, especially to what kind of packaging goods come in.