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Not Saving the Planet

When it comes to preserving the environment and recycling, I feel like I have to double my efforts to make up for my family.

My parents live in the country and as far as I know there is no recycling program. I’m not sure if my other brothers recycle, but I know Ben doesn’t. He’s way too lazy. His idea of preserving the environment is leaving the food wrappers and empty drink cups in the back of his car. At one point when I told him how gross it was he replied, “Sarah, I’m working on a compost pile, leave me alone.”

Last night, when a light bulb burnt out in my apartment I went to retrieve the energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs I’ve been using, but I was out–thus the following conundrum: use the regular light bulbs that I already had, or drive to the store to buy more fluorescent bulbs?

Using low-energy bulbs is awesome, but using the fuel to drive to the store isn’t exactly the most environmentally sound decision. And fuck walking, I didn’t want to change into comfy shoes.

Being a list lover, I sat down and started writing a pro/con list to help make the decision. Ten minutes into the list process I poured myself a glass of wine. Five minutes later a second glass was consumed, and then a third…

Clearly my drunken subconscious was telling me to stay home and preserve gasoline. I can’t very well drive after drinking, right? Right! I then polished off the remainder of the bottle of wine and vowed to recycle the bottle, which I promptly forgot about and threw the bottle in the trash bin. Next time… I promise.


  • I think the claim that the new lightbulbs are better for the environment is bogus. So what if they use less energy? They have fucking MERCURY in them. You aren’t supposed to just throw those things away because of it, but then I’m not sure what exactly you’re supposed to do. No one ever told me. But have you ever read the instructions on what to do if you accidentally break one of those bulbs? It’s like you have to stage your own little hazmat scene. As for energy – remember how mass and energy are the same thing and mass and energy can never be created nor destroyed? In other words, we got all the energy in the world, baby.

    As for recycling, I’m all for the principle, but frankly, I don’t trust that they recycle most of the shit that people give them. They probably just add it to the landfill after they take what they can make money off of. Oh yeah, and about them making money off of it… you know, there are places where they pay YOU to recycle. You don’t have to pay them.


  • This is the same theory I use when I forget to stop at a stop sign, I promptly apologize and exclaim “I will stop twice next time.”

  • At least you finished the bottle of wine, because everyone knows that wine isn’t as good after the bottle has been open, so there you go, you did something right.

  • I have one of those stupid little curvy lightbulbs, and I hate it. It barely gives off enough light, and it takes like 10 minutes to “warm up”. Plus, it was expensive and the base is so wide I had to “modify” my fake torchiere lamp to make it fit. From now on, it’s normal lightbulbs for me.


  • I am impressed! I am a notorious list maker–I pride myself on it, in fact. But I have never even considered making a pros & cons list about the merits of using a less efficient light bulb over driving to the store to fetch a better one. That is awesome…you’ve just opened my eyes to another genre of list making. Woo-hoo! 🙂

  • Where do you recycle glass wine bottles?

  • @sra: I wouldn’t worry about the mercury in today’s compact fluorescents. Your watch battery has three times as much mercury. And the biggest thing is that our Utah coal burning power plants will emit 4 times more mercury into the atmosphere powering incandescent bulbs, since it takes 1/4 the electricity to power a compact flourescent. At least with the CFL bulbs, the mercury will end up recycled or in the ground. You can take burnt out CFLs to Home Depot – or collect them and take a trip once every five years out to the Salt Lake Landfill where they have facilities to handle such waste.

  • Home Depot is also carrying CFL bulbs in different wattages and color temperatures … so you can get from dim to bright, and from yellowish (soft-white) to full-spectrum (“daylight”) versions.

    I can’t wait for LED lights to become more economical, though … but at prices ranging from $20-$120 per bulb, it’s hard to justify the expense even if you don’t have to change them for 30,000 hours of use (3.5 years of 24/7 use, or about 10 years of 8-hour use).

  • I make lists of things I did in the past just so I can cross things off.

  • Too funny!

    And don’t sweat it… I replaced 4 incandescents last week, and recycled a TON of plastic shopping bags – that oughta be more than enough to make up for your lapse!

  • …I love this blog. LOVE. I read dooce.com every day and this is another regular.

    *adds to bookmarks*


  • I, too, came from Dooce. SOOOO HAPPY I was introduced! Hilarious! Loved the ass scratch and gimp day incidents! Classic!

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  • This sounds exactly like what I do. I will let one plastic bottle sit next to the garbage can for a week with the intention to recycle before I realize that I have NOTHING else to recycle and end up just throwing it away. I didn’t have my gas turned on all winter, so I guess I helped the environment a little bit there.

  • One time while visiting my ultra-conservative grandmother in Arizona, I asked where I should put the recyclable trash. She looked at me like I asked her to literally stuff a bottle and said very specifically, “We don’t recycle in the country.” Oh, so sorry gma, I will remember this moment when that imaginary future offspring of mine asks why we have to live underground.

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