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Recycling 101 8.18.14

By LaVerne C. Paulson

Fri, Aug 15th, 2014
Posted in All Home & Garden

The majority of Fillmore County residents have the opportunity to make use of our roads and highways to get from one place to another. Their travels frequently allow them to observe wildflowers, cat tails, cardinals, butterflies, wild turkeys, bald eagles, woodchucks, crows, deer, and the 13 lined ground squirrel also known as the striped gopher, as it scampers across the road in front of them. The ditch seem to be a popular place to find a lot of these plants and animals. They are part of nature and belong there.

However, more than nature inhabits our ditches. It just doesn’t seem to blend in with its surroundings. These foreign objects are numerous forms of litter. Yes, litter in the ditches along our county’s roadways. We can ask ourselves, “Who would be capable of throwing this unwanted stuff out of a vehicle?” There is an excellent chance that all but a few of you who read Recycling 101 articles do not believe the ditches of Fillmore County are one large trash container. Chances are also pretty good that someone you know may have added a piece or two of garbage to a ditch’s collection.

Many of the people who think this trash will decompose naturally in a few days or weeks should maybe think again. Plastic food bags, wrappers, and plastic bottles may last up to twenty years, a Styrofoam cup perhaps a hundred years, aluminum cans will not break down for five hundred years, and a glass bottle is capable of lasting more than a thousand years, and quite possibly even more.

People of all age groups, educational levels, professions, religions, and ethnic backgrounds are more than capable of littering. There are countless reasons why people toss garbage from vehicle windows. Perhaps that plastic pop bottle is missing a cap and a few drops of soda may find their way to the carpet of the vehicle. Sharing the passenger compartment with a badly soiled diaper can be a real challenge. The wrapper from a muffin or jelly roll is much to sticky and icky and may draw flies. Aluminum cans take up a lot of room and make a lot of noise rolling around on the floor.

I will agree that these items do not belong in a vehicle, but they certainly do not belong in a Fillmore County ditch. So, what can you do? Two plastic grocery bags will take care of most of these unwanted items. One can be used for the landfill garbage, the other for recyclables. Keep them on the floor behind your seat, or in the trunk. Then deposit them in an appropriate receptacle when you stop for fuel or a snack. Those garbage cans and recycling containers at gas stations are there for a reason. Please use them. If all else fails, take your stuff home and dispose of it there.

We, in Fillmore County, take pride in the cleanliness and neatness of our cities and towns as well as the roadsides and ditches near our homes, and do our best to keep them looking good. While driving around the county, I can’t help but notice that there is much less garbage in the ditches than there was years ago. I sincerely believe that more people are becoming aware of the need for a cleaner environment. Less litter in our ditches is an excellent start. The volunteers that clean the litter from our ditches will be more than happy to fill fewer bags.

Thank you for taking the responsibility to become better stewards of the land, water, and air of Fillmore County, as well as the entire State of Minnesota. Recycling does work and pays great benefits. As I have mentioned many times before, your great, great, grandchildren will thank you.

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