Honesty and Accuracy and Connections

The new goal: to keep this recycling bin from filling up…

I mentioned in my last post that I recently went to a PTO meeting and spoke up, suggesting some changes to the annual March school dance. I also mentioned that I then went on to ask — entirely without forethought — whether or not anyone else had heard the news that China was going to be refusing to take Canada’s recycling.

So I don’t know if you also caught this bit of news (because it’s not just Canada’s recycling that China is refusing; it’s the world’s recycling), nor do I know what your reaction was upon hearing this news —

(yes, that’s an invitation: please, do tell. Perhaps it didn’t come as news to you at all; perhaps you already knew … ?)

— but my reaction entirely explains why that Have you heard?!?! question popped out, completely unbidden, revealing the fact that I was still reeling, days after hearing about it. My reaction, you see, had not been a calm and reasoned, Oh well! Canada will simply have to explore other markets for its recycling…

No, dear reader.

My reaction was, rather, an incredulous and curse-laden, WTAF?! Our recycling has been going to China?!?!?!?!

Which then progressed to anger: How can it possibly BE, that our recycling has been going to China?! Are they *actually* telling us that our recycling has been put on ships and, well, SHIPPED (?!?!?!) halfway around the world?!?!?!?

Which then led to the damning question: HOW is it possible that I DID NOT KNOW that this was happening?!?!?!?!

That’s one helluva lot of interrobangs, you might be saying to yourself.

That’s because this level of flabbergastation REQUIRES the use of that many interrobangs.

I feel, quite honestly, as if I’ve been lied to. Or if not lied to, precisely (because that presumes intent), then at the very least hoodwinked, misled, encouraged-to-look-away-and-not-question.

I’ve known for a long time that the three Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — are arranged in their particular order for a very good reason. The most important thing that one can do, after all, is to reduce their consumption. The next best thing one can do is to reuse, if at all possible. The last resort is to recycle, because while recycling does indeed divert stuff from landfills, it requires energy to recycle.

So yes, I have known all that for a very long time, and have been trying my damnedest to reduce (just ask my family, who, incidentally, have a very unflattering nickname for me, one that is entirely based off this hellbent mission I’m on to reduce reduce reduce), as well as to reuse (and here, the farmers I’ve pestered — insisting they stuff their carrots into my bread bags — will roll their eyes and sigh vouch for me and agree that I’ve been trying my best) …


While I’ve been busy reducing and reusing wherever possible, I’ve continued to be a staunch believer in recycling. I’ve been recycling diligently since I was a child, even going so far as to bring our recycling to a depot (when we lived in an apartment and didn’t have pick-up), all the while thinking it was a Good Thing To Be Doing.

And now … now I see that the truth (The Whole Unvarnished Truth) has been quietly withheld, not just from me (or IS it just me who didn’t know this?), but from all of us.

Seeing this — and putting this together with some conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks — has caused me to reflect on what it means to be honest and what it means to be accurate, as well as to consider the deeper question of why it is that some of us are able and/or willing to make those honest and accurate connections, to possess the wherewithal to have that first inkling-of-a-thought that leads us to actively entertain the possibility that there might just be something more lurking underneath the slick surface, even when the underlying Whole Unvarnished Truth turns out to be inconvenient or flinchingly uncomfortable.

Because I’ve been feeling that most of my posts are far too wordy, I’m going to leave this one here, but with a promissory To Be Continued … I’ve started a running list of topics that not only fit in with the themes of honesty and accuracy and connection, but also seem to mesh with my wish to share more stories…

8 thoughts on “Honesty and Accuracy and Connections

  1. Hi Marian,

    To answer your most direct question: Yes, I was aware that our recycling was being shipped to China. I think I first heard rumblings of this new direction maybe a year ago? Certainly by last fall. I am not sure why/how I was aware of this?

    There is such a barrage of difficult/previously-unimaginable things flying at us, I hardly flinch at anything any more. And, it is hard to keep up. We like to think that this information age means that things are somehow easier–we can know All The Things All the Time!–but the glut of information actually makes it more difficult in many ways. We have to find ways to wade through it all.

    I feel for you.


    1. I guess I’m coming across as hopelessly naive and idealistic, hey?
      I SO agree with you — there is just. So. Much. And it’s constant. And I just keep flinching 😦 .
      I think the only answer with all of this is for governments to recognize the fact that this is utter insanity, and to take this type of decision-making away from the free market, because clearly the market can’t be trusted to do the right thing. We also need some pretty hefty taxes, or outright bans, or in-our-face PR campaigns, or something, something to make us stem this tide, en masse…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Careful, there, Marian–you almost sound like a socialist or something. Or a Canadian. 😉 I agree with you, and we know from history that unchecked capitalism is bad for people. The current state of the world, particularly my country, is just…I don’t know the right word. I want to stay “astounding” or “unbelievable” but those words aren’t accurate. Perhaps, profoundly disappointing. I understand why it’s this way, but it’s hard to accept it.


      2. Thanks for the actual laugh out loud this afternoon, Rita 🙂 . (Guilty on both counts.)
        “Profoundly disappointing” — that nails it. FWIW, we have some profoundly disappointing stuff going on up here too. (Much less [sorry!], but still…) It is, indeed, very hard to accept that this is the way things are. I think maybe that’s my problem — I’m actually NOT accepting that this is the way things are. As much as I am repeatedly buffeted/ground down by waves of profound disappointment, I feel like acceptance would be even worse, because acceptance (for me) means giving up, and that’s just not who I am. (Even if I were the last person to board the ship for Mars (you know, when we move on to plan(et) B) I would turn off the lights and make sure the compost was put out…)


  2. I don’t really have anything else to add to the conversation.

    I did NOT know that so much recycling was going to China, however it doesn’t surprise me.

    I’m finding the world we live in profoundly disappointing at times.


    1. Thanks for this, Kate. Even though you said you don’t have anything to add to the conversation, the fact that you didn’t know either makes me feel just a bit less, well, gullible? I don’t know if that’s the right word; all I know is I’m a bit relieved that I’m not the only one who wasn’t in the know…

      I hope you’re managing ok with all the upheaval you’ve got going on…


  3. As a wise friend of mine pointed out the other day: there is no ‘Away’. We can’t throw stuff ‘away’; refugees can’t be sent ‘away’; and the recycling doesn’t go ‘away’ either, even on a boat to China…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! This is something that needs to become part of our collective conscience. That, as well as the understanding that things don’t magically appear on store shelves, that every single thing we buy comes with a cost (raw materials, environmental degradation, energy to manufacture, energy to package and to ship, and then the costs on the other end, when its useful (or not) life is over and it’s either tossed or recycled, requiring yet more energy etc. The (apparent) non-understanding (or perhaps it’s NOT non-understanding but rather non-caring?) of both of these concepts drives. me. up. a. creek.
      Many thanks for coming by and for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂 !

      Liked by 1 person

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