New Year’s Resolution – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Happy New Year!  Sorry for the late wishes.  We are not quite sure where January went, but as we approach February we are moving forward with our New Year’s resolution to reduce the amount of plastic waste that we produce across all areas of our lives.  We have always recycled, but in recent months Louise’s husband, Tom has been doing more research on the what is actually happening to the plastic that we put in our recycle bin and the news is not good.  

Did you know even if your local trash collector says they are recycling everything you put into your bin, that in fact, some or all of it is probably ending up in the landfill?  Really? That was our first reaction  and here is what our research produced:

In a recent interview, David Kaplan, the CEO of Maine Plastics , a post-industrial recycler, explained about the current recycling practices here in the US.  He said that plastics with numbers 3-7 are absolutely not being recycled and are going to a landfill because China is no longer taking these plastics.  This has been happening since the launching of an initiative known as ‘Green Fence’ by the Chinese government which was to help reduce their pollution.  The policy bans the import of all but the cleanest, most tidily organized bales of reusable rubbish.  The program was supposed to end in November of 2013, but as suspected by the recycling companies, it looks like Green Fence is here to stay.  Mr. Kaplan believes that the plastics #3-7 will continue to end up in landfills until the United States can economically recycle these plastics. 

So unfortunately not all plastic that is put into a bin is getting recycled and only 9% of all plastic even makes it into a recycling bin.  So what happens to the other 91%?  Some of it ends up in a landfill but a fair amount ends up in our oceans.  Around 8 million metric tons go into the oceans each year, according to the first rigorous global estimate published in Science today.  That’s equivalent to 16 shopping bags full of plastic for every meter of coastline (excluding Antarctica).  By 2025 we will be putting enough plastic in the ocean (on our most conservative estimates) to cover 5% of the earth’s entire surface in cling film each year.  Those are some scary statistics.  But what really made us rethink our plastic addiction was the report from The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics, which analyzed the flow of materials around the world and predicted that, given the projected growth in plastic production, by 2050 oceans could contain more plastics than fish.

In the year 2050, our children and nieces and nephews will be close to our ages.  We want them to be able to enjoy nature as much as we do today.  Therefore, we are making a change.  At home and at the office we are going to reduce the amount of plastic that we use and at the same time we are going to recycle as much plastic material as we can in order to decrease the amount of garbage that we produce.  It is not easy. Once you stop and pay attention to the amount of plastic that is around, the task seems daunting.  We believe we have to start somewhere! We cannot let this make us complacent, nor paralyzed.

In our next blog we will tell you how we are doing it! Please come back and pass this along to your friends and family.

We are all in this together.

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Happy New Year – One Resolution

Happy New Year from Wellspring Holistic Center

“This New Year’s Eve you can lay the groundwork for continued growth without making any resolutions except one—to let go of the past, connect with yourself, to Wake Up, and be Present.”

This message was the first thing I saw this morning and wanted to pass it on.

This is the work of a lifetime. This will ask so much of you and give you so much in return. I promise.

It is the solo effort and the shared experience necessary for the joy and the peace that we all seek.

Letting go of the past is the first step because, simply, the past is over. I know for some of us it feels as real as this moment, as we keep reliving things that have already happened over and over. As I heard myself say to a young patient the other day, “The only thing we know for sure is that we are sitting here right now talking to one another. All the other things you are saying happened before this moment or will happen later, after this moment. None of them will help us in this moment.”

The room became very quiet and I watched her sigh. After a few seconds she said, “I feel better now.”

That was the first step as well as the second; she had connected with herself. We were then able to talk in present time, name the feeling that was most pervasive, breathe into where it was in her body, and allow the thought about it to be heard. Then we took some more deep breaths and rested in the peace we had created together.

The “Waking Up” is the recognizing that we are not in the present moment and focusing on our breath helps us to be present, slow down, and then, we can respond instead of react – to our thoughts, the situation at hand, etc.

None of this is easy. It takes practice and compassion as we will succeed and fail many times, even in the same day! It takes a village to raise a child and I believe an adult as well. Find your tribe, your support system, and the practices that will help you. Let us all make this New Year one of Practice and Peace.