February 4th 2020

Some thing just are hard to explain, like the drastic change in the weather, as we are experiencing a cold morning in the desert at 39 or 4 degrees, but just two days ago on Sunday Miss Laurie got a little sun burn while sitting out here in Quartzsite. Oh it’s just another storm rolling in off of the Pacific Ocean, and as we watch the reports it rolls all the way across the states to the east coast, now I understand that some of you think this whole climate change thing is a hoax, or fake news. And even I’m not sure it is all a man made issue, but I do believe it is real, and that is not because some celebrity told me to be greener as they fly their chartered jets around the world. But I do know that we are polluting our world with one time use products, and the packaging that those one time use products come in. I see garbage that is discarded, and I’m not talking about the litter that lines most of the roads of this great land. I’m just looking at the properly (and we use the term properly with caution) disposed of.

Let’s just look at our little portion of the problem, have you ever stopped to look at what your trash consists of? As someone that would like to do the right thing, it’s a difficult task, but the more you investigate the more complex it becomes. My favourite drink containers, now way back in the 1900’s when I grew up if we wanted a drink, we would get a glass of water from the tap…oh I know how unsafe…water being pumped from the ground, through copper pipes that were soldered together and collected in a glass glass that hadn’t even been sterilized, how did we survive? And I lived out in the country where the water wasn’t even chlorinated, but yet here we are decades latter and still alive, but now everyone has a plastic (one time use) bottle of water. First question. Other than the water bottlers who would ever have thought that was a good idea? I can’t even imagine when someone had the idea to pitch the concept of selling tap water in plastic bottles to the masses. Yet it is happening every day in mass quantities, I know this because I see all the empty bottles almost every where, on the side of the road, packed in garbage bags, in our water ways, our rivers, our lakes, our oceans, just about every where.

The sad part we were there a few years ago we would buy cases of water bottles, and being good people we would put the empties in the recycling, end of story right. Well no, not the end of the story, in fact just the beginning of a very sad story, so we have this plastic bottle that was produced, shipped to the water tap filler guy, filled and shipped back, lugged home, used once, then placed into a bin to be recycled, then shipped off to some place to be reformed into a bench or something. But then it has started to spin out of control, and the quantities are so large that some is now diverted to the land fill where that plastic bottle will out live everyone of us. And all this because we thought it would be a good idea to put normal tap water in a plastic bottle…hmmmm.

I think what I find the most disheartening is that we think this lifestyle is ok, well it’s not…I grew up in Ontario Canada, and I have drank an occasional beer, well in Ontario we had to buy our beer from the Brewers Retail…it was the only authorized beer retailer and I always bought my beer in bottles, they were brown in colour and we we were charged a deposit on those bottles, today the deposit is a dime per bottle, so a case of 24 beers had a $2.40 deposit, and after we enjoyed said beer we would trundle back to the retailer and get our $2.40 back, those bottles were not recycled no no they were reused. They were taken, cleaned and where refilled to be used over and over again. And I never thought anything about it, that was just how it was done. Well as I ventured out into the world I noticed that our buddies in New York paid a nickel deposit and if or when they returned their bottles they were smashed for recycling only…and even back then I thought how much better Ontario’s system was, after all what happened to all that broken glass. Then around twenty years ago I went to Sweden on a business trip, and other than culture shock there were a lot of other things that stuck out to me…but because I sill enjoy the occasional beer I ordered a beer, a local brand, one I had never heard of, but it was good enough to order a second, but it came in a different coloured bottle and it was then that I noticed it did not have a label either. When I questioned the bartender he explained that in Sweden all bottles are reused, and that even soda bottles were reused, and that rather than sort colours the bottlers just used what ever bottles were available, and all bottles were the exact same dimensions so they were totally exchangeable, the next day while shopping I noticed a case of six beers, three different coloured bottles, no label on the bottle, just a steel cap and all the information was on the recycled paper case…there was no deposit but every one just took the bottles to a return depot without even being bribed by a deposit.

Now I just can’t see a lot of people taking back their bottles with out being rewarded, in fact I can’t even see most people taking back the bottle if there was a deposit. No it’s a mindset, one of convenience, I personally enjoy a beer in a bottle more than a can, but I buy cans when I’m in the States because of convenience, I can crush the can and throw it in the garbage because there are very few recycling receptacles, where the bottles are bulkier and heavier to lug to the trash. No the garbage removal companies would like you to believe that they are recycling, but I for one have seen the garbage truck emptying the recycling bin…I’m sure there was a reason but as long as we are such a convenience driven society, I don’t see any fast term solutions, and I find that lots of people talk a good story until it becomes a inconvenience or a bother. At least that’s my view out the side window.