I take issue with the notion that Los Angeles is a leader in recycling.
I lived in LA for ten years, relocating to attend a program at UCLA.
During that period, I lived in approximately 5 different buildings in Westwood, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles, adjacent to UCLA campus.
While the campus was certainly green, with an organized recycling program, the surrounding neighborhood of Westwood was a more checkered story.
Many of the buildings I lived in did not always have reliable recycling.
Some of them, when we moved in, did not even have a recycling bin for the building.
Several of the residents often voluntarily carried their recycling onto UCLA to use campus recycling bins.
I also did extra work on film and tv sets. Certainly some production sets had recycling and made good efforts to ensure that waste was properly disposed of.
But I worked on many sets– both film location sets and some very big TV show sets located on prominent studio lots– where all the trash was dumped into bins indiscriminately.
I always hoped that someone, at some point, was going to sort through all that trash.
But let’s consider the more disturbing back story.
What has been happening to the collected recycling in Los Angeles, California, or in many other parts of the country?
While most residents of these communities thought their recycling was being transformed into a more “socially conscious” incarnation, the fact is that Americans were actually selling our uncleaned recycling to third world countries, so that their poverty stricken natives could sort through our garbage and clean it up for us.
And, pay us for the privilege of doing so.
However, the practice of sustainability does require due diligence in monitoring the complete life cycle of the recycling process. Someone should have been looking at what was happening to our recycling!
Which begs the question: what kind of people think that they can sell their garbage to other people to clean up for them?
This unclean trash was compacted into container piles and shipped for months across the ocean to remote overseas communities, contaminating those people and their environments.
There is nothing clean, green or sustainable about this situation.
In a true sustainability model, you cannot simply sweep your garbage problems over to someone else’s yard and forget about it.
What happens in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles –or in the waste processing center of an overseas community –matters just as much as what happens in the boardrooms of policy makers.
Because true stewardship requires that we take care of each other, as well as the planet.
After all, who are we ultimately saving the planet for?
The opinions expressed here by Charlene Lee and other columnists are their own, not those of Bioplasticsnews.com.