What's the big deal with recycling?

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Eileen Payne
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Global warming, we've been hearing those two words for some time now, but what does it really mean, and how is it going to affect our future?

In my opinion, the answer is it affects everybody and everything that resides on our precious planet.

Global warming is a term we use quite often. It's referring to the warming that can occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases, from both natural and human induced activities. We fail to realize how much of an environmental footprint we're making, and what our biggest areas of resource consumption are.

With our recent ecological catastrophe, the Gulf Coast oil spill, it's time we put forth some effort to alleviate the potential breakdown of the world as we know it. Unfortunately, we can't reverse the damage already done to our planet, but we can help reduce the amount of pollution we release into our atmosphere by "going green."

It's understandable that we can't all do anything tremendously significant, but little things can really add up.

For instance, in my shop a few other Airmen and I have set up recycling bins in the break room with pictures of what you can and can't recycle. It was one small change that we stepped up to make, and it has changed the way our office thinks and acts on recycling.

We take all of our recycled items to one of two large recycling stations set up on base -- one in the Base Exchange parking lot and one near the Shoppette. Team Holloman members can also take their recycling to the Recycling Center on base located in building 1266.

Another small step we can take to lessen a major source of pollution in our environment is to invest in reusable grocery bags.

I recently invested in reusable bags after a plastic bag flew onto my windshield one day, blocking my view of the road. You can only imagine how many times something like that has happened to someone.

I looked into the production numbers of these plastic bags and the estimates are 500 billion to 1 trillion are consumed and discarded annually worldwide. That's a million per minute! The reusable bags typically range from $.50 to $.99, some stores will actually give you a few cents off per bag you use. Again, you'll save money and help reduce the amount of plastic bags disposed of that break down into tiny particles contaminating the earth's soil.

So the next time the grocery clerk asks you "paper or plastic," you can respond with the truly eco-friendly answer and say "neither."

Talk to your family and friends about weather change and the little ways we can help. Even something as simple as replacing the five most used lights in your home with ENERGY STAR bulbs can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions on our planet and save you money.

A little contribution to reducing pollution can go a long way, especially if we all pitch in to make a difference for a better tomorrow.

For more information on the recycling, contact the Recycling Center at 575-572-3931.