By AMANDA WHEELER
9:33 AM EDT, August 6, 2012
Recently, I got back from my trip to Costa Rica. The trip was part of my coursework for my master’s degree in zoology. While I had a great time and learned many different things, a few things really stuck out in my mind.
I talk a lot about recycling in my columns because I think it’s very important. I believe it’s small things like everyone doing their part to recycle that can make a huge impact.
While I was in Costa Rica, people at every place we visited recycled. Unlike here where in many places you can toss all kinds of recycling in the same bin, there they still have to sort all their recycling, so it’s not as easy.
Even places we visited like Monte Verde, which is a remote natural preserve at the top of a mountain, recycle. It’s not easy to get to Monte Verde — it takes about four hours from the city of San Jose to get there, including two hours to get up the mountain with cliffs all along the steep, winding road. A lot of the roads aren’t even paved, they’re just gravel.
It’s things like this — people putting so much effort into recycling in one place, and people in another place where recycling is easier not even trying — that drives me bananas.
As soon as we got off the plane at the end of our return trip in Cincinnati, the family of the girl I was traveling with met us at the airport. Her teenage son had a soda can and just tossed it in the trash as we were walking out.
His mother, because she had seen all the proactive recycling I had seen in Costa Rica, promptly removed it from the trash can and told him he needed to recycle instead.
His response was that there were no recycling cans near him. She told him then he should just bring it home — 20 minutes away — and recycle it there.
I think if Costa Ricans can be bothered to recycle at the top of a mountain four hours away from a big city, we can bother to recycle, even if it means transporting a soda can to a recycling bin 20 minutes away.
The next time you’re tempted to throw something recyclable in the trash, just remember that wherever the nearest recycling bin is, I guarantee it’s easier to get to than Monte Verde. If they recycle in Monte Verde, you can recycle in central Kentucky.
Amanda’s Animal Fact of the Week
It is thought that red-eyed tree frogs’ red eyes are colored in order to act as a warning discouraging predators from eating them.
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