Recycling: More Corporate Funded Fake Activism

by Carter Brock
File under: Fake Culture05 May 2014 22:29 EDT

Chances are you've seen the billboards, or heard one of the recent slew of public service announcements (Earth Day was only a couple of weeks ago, after all).

I Want to be Recycled: the latest public relations campaign to remind us about one of our most important civic duties. The hyper-individualist American population has never been particularly invested in public matters, but certainly recycling is something wholesome that we can all get behind. And if not, there's sure to be a chorus of sanctimonious voices pressuring us to do what's right.

Maybe this is something worth checking out. On the campaign's website you can find nearby recycling centers, learn about the recycling process, and get tips for starting a community recycling program. Not too shabby. Now then, who do we have to thank for this magnanimous support?

Aluminum, plastics, water bottlers — the very face of the litter industry. But what about Keep America Beautiful, the non-profit responsible for the infamous teary-eyed Native American PSA? Somehow, their list of corporate partners is even worse.

Perhaps we should be used to this by now. Greenwashing, astroturfing, the whole spectrum of faux activism. No wonder recycling is so mainstream, since there's plenty of big time money behind it.

Indeed, recycling is the maintenance of materialism and consumerist waste, not a challenge to it.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle How quickly we forget that this used to be an environmental trinity. “Reuse” meaning preserve what you have, “Reduce” meaning refrain from using it in the first place. Well, you can see how such behavior would be fatal to the consumerist system that necessitates constant turnover, the constant buying and selling that fuels our throwaway culture.

Recycling was supposed to be the method of last resort, but in our waste- creation society, it is the only message that survives. It allows us to feel good about our consumerism, to perpetuate the same old wasteful habits without inconveniencing the way we live. Sure, it's better than dumping in a landfill, but not much.

Only a fundamental, radical change in our behavior will build an environmentally sustainable future. Hopefully, one day, we'll enjoy supply chains where we can obtain what we need without redundant, suffocating packaging and excess. Until then, start with the small changes, and remember that there are few things more vile in this world than a plastic bag.

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COMMENTS

Anonymous says:20 Dec 2015 0:48 EST
edit: please strike the word "that" after "satisfied", above.
DD says:20 Dec 2015 0:46 EST
Well worded -- calm and clear--which helps me believe that YOU believe in what you're saying.

In-depth analyses and statistics tell the true tale--none of which I'll go to the trouble to look for--but I'm satisfied that with the notion of radical habit-change being needed to truly sustain world resources (obviously this is not an idea new to anyone willing to admit to being part of a catastrophic, confused, consumerist society--let's see if some good ideas for how to begin the actual change come up).
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