Recycling and the West

Recycling and the West

The barrels ready for recycling on the streets of Bhamo, Myanmar (Burma) 

We live in 21st century and today’s western throwaway society is getting bigger and bigger. Despite a huge effort of many countries to cut CO2 emissions, minimize their carbon footprints, applying use of green renewable energy, introducing biodegradable plastics and putting emphasis on educating people how to recycle, we still seem to struggle. Of course, there are some exceptions such as Sweden, where recycling has gone to a different level and applying incentives to motivate public to reinforce recycling religion.

On the other hand, third world countries in Africa, South Asia or South East Asia, where recycling of garbage or specific materials imported from the West  has become a matter of life and death, where people rely on the income from waste recycling. Countries like India, or Ghana are long-time suffering from abuse of west world society but subsequently creating a symbiotic and health hazardous dependence on us. Why do not we take responsibilities into own hands, and follow countries like Sweden or Norway? Why it has become a norm? On a positive side many of the South East Asian countries such as Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia  are practising recycling as part of bartering where an item gets stripped off the parts and these then get passed on other traders or exchange for other parts.

We should embrace recycling as a life style and not such as trendy fed diet, that has no long-term positive effects. We must teach our younger generation to follow and protect the environment and societies who suffer subsequently from shameless and destructive behaviour of the West.

Shouldn’t we then start with ourselves first?

5 thoughts on “Recycling and the West

  1. n4nomad

    I completely agree with you on all points. Have a lovely day too! 🙂

  2. This is true. However it seems that when you eat higher quality nutritious food you actually eat less. This is good because although you are paying more you don’t have to purchase as much. Many people overly ingest way too much lower quality foods – just look at the waste lines. Think of the amounts of soda and beer that people drink. If they switched to filtered water from their sink they would have more money for better food. It’s all about switching mindset and habits. Not always easy but doable with a little willpower and discipline. As for plastic bags and containers – when buying bulk you can bring in your own containers – at least here we can. They weight it and then you fill it. Reusable bags are environmentally friendly too. Every little bit helps. Have a beautiful day!!

  3. n4nomad

    Thank you for your comment 🙂 We all try to recycle at some point, but then give up. It is amazing how you managed to give up traditional (in many cases plastic packages), changed purchasing habits and searched for other alternatives. I think it is the price of the product that talks. People incline towards choosing conventional plastic products that are way cheaper than the greener options. Industries should offer their products at prices which are more accessible to everyone.

  4. Very sad situation. Each of us is responsible for our purchasing habits and everyday I try to make the right decision. My garbage and recyclables go to the road every two weeks or so due to my new grocery habits. We avoid fast food restaurants and drink water from the faucet in our glass bottles. This one act alone if everyone would switch would save thousands if not millions of plastic bottles from finding their way into landfills. Even my clothing purchases are at a minimum. Yet, I was purchasing two books on trees at Barnes and Noble when the staff reminded me that trees were cut to make the books. At that point I no longer wanted my books on trees – they were telling the story of the life of trees that were now my books:( Sometimes others can remind us we aren’t really doing as well as we can to sustain our environment. Nice blog!

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