If I could ask Oprah 1 question…


It would be, “Do you recycle?”. It’s hard to believe that there are some people in the US that still do not recycle. In fact, one poll claims that 23% of Americans don’t recycle ( http://www.treehugger.com/files/2007/08/americans_recycle.php ). I guess it has been my naiveté that makes me just assume that everyone recycles.

I know someone who didn’t start recycling until this past year. To provide anonymity, let’s call him Willy Wonka. Willy is in his mid-30’s, owns his own home, and grew up in a household that did recycle. For a long time, Willy touted his reason for not recycling was that he didn’t have a recycling bin. Interestingly, while at his house one day, I found the missing bin underneath his deck. Despite finding the bin, Willy still didn’t start recycling. He is a frequent purchaser of bottled water, bottled beer, and canned soda. I would cringe watching these empty containers repeatedly getting tossed in the garbage. If I drank a soda while at his house, I would take my empty can home with me to be recycled.

What really amazed me was that Willy had a young son. Did he not realize that he was setting a terrible example to his child? It made me ill thinking about all that aluminum, plastic, and paper being shoved into plastic garbage bags just to be tossed into a landfill. To this day, I don’t understand why he didn’t recycle. He has started recycling. I’m not sure what motivated him to do so, but I am much relieved to know that his son will grow up knowing that recycling is just something you do.

Why wouldn’t you recycle? I have heard that some trash companies don’t collect recycling. If that’s your situation, I forgive you. I’m going to guess that most people don’t recycle because there are lazy. It’s more convenient for them to dump all that trash in one location, drag one container down to the curb, and not think about sorting recyclable items. That, I don’t forgive. Laziness is not an excuse when it comes to saving our planet.

So, Oprah, do you recycle? I’m not a regular watcher of Oprah, but I did see an episode when she said that her housekeepers change her sheets every day. I wonder if she has ever thought about how much water it must take every year to make sure her sheets are freshly laundered daily. That got me thinking about Oprah’s carbon footprint. While I have never seen her house, I have to imagine that it is quite large, unnecessarily large for her small family. The energy that must be required to power her home (and her washing machine) must be outrageous. Maybe she uses solar energy or has a wind turbine in her backyard.

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