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Let's Celebrate Earth Day and Save Our Waterways
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 • Posted April 21, 2009

When I wake up in the morning and it’s gorgeous outside, I always think, “Another beautiful day in paradise.” Many people who live here must feel that way because at our recent Trash Off and River Clean Up, a whole host of volunteers showed up to assist in the yearly event.

We had a single mom who woke her small children early and arrived ready to work, to show them the value of volunteerism. Jason Marek’s loyal AG kids helped for the third year in a row. Dr. Weaver’s valiant boy scouts traversed a large part of the river in their kayaks and canoes. A prominent Blanco Bank executive offered her time and wound up knee deep in water trying to grab a plastic bag just beyond her reach. People from all walks of life gave their Saturday morning to Blanco to clean the garbage from our streets, river and streams. And yet, after all this hard effort the garbage reappears. So, where does it come from?

I recently performed an experiment. I saved my garbage to measure my weekly consumption. Leftover food was composted. But what happens to the cans, newspapers, cereal boxes, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, cigarette packs, paper receipts, mail, magazines, glass and everything else we use daily? It becomes garbage. It must go somewhere. Garbage is moved to landfills, which become full, and then new landfills are created to hold the increasing load. Not a perfect system by a long shot because as human population increases, so does our consumption. Garbage is the by-product. So what we do with what we use and discard is critical.

The results of my experiment were shocking. After seven days of saving all recyclable materials, I had six buckets full of used product leftovers. That does not even count what could not be recycled. One person, one week and I filled the bed of my truck with six containers of garbage. Not optimistic results, but educational.

I urge you to consider your roles in this dilemma as I am. Challenge yourselves and your families to recycle and reuse. If we are mindful of where our garbage begins, then we can redirect its end.

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