Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Just rambling today.  I was writing in my journal this morning when my pen ran out of ink. Immediately my mind veered off course from the memories I was recording to a moral dilemma that overwhelms me all too often these days.

What to do with this bit of plastic, now that it is useless to me, but will forever live on in the world, destroying our planet and remaining intact, forever to haunt my offspring and their offspring and theirs . . .?

Do I try to find a replacement ink cartridge, or throw it away as the manufacturer intended? How badly will I screw up the environment by sending it to a landfill? Along with all the pencils that are still useful, but too short for my liking. And, before anyone suggests it, I've already googled "uses for recycled pencils." How many tiny plant stakes does one need? How many picture frames can one make from used pencils? (Google that one)

For years I've been doing my due diligence and using my own bags at the grocery store. Come to find out, they too have a life cycle, and when they go to the landfill they take forever to break down. Much longer than the evil plastic bags. So, now I need to find "natural" bags out of cotton canvas, which I can put in my compost pile when their time comes. But, I'm still filled with angst over the 20 non-degradable bags that I have in my car. So, I've been filling them with items that go to ARC. I'll let ARC figure it out.

My mother used to talk about, "When I have my nervous breakdown. . . " It was never a bad thing. In her mind it would mean having a nice padded room to go to, where maybe she could take her books or her needlework and live out her days.

I'm convinced my nervous breakdown will come as a result of an odd pencil or pen, "paper or plastic," single serving yogurt or quart sized, or a boxful of VHS tapes.

The bittersweet thing is that, what I will choose to take for my nervous breakdown -- my journal, pens and pencils -- will keep me in my padded room for a very long time.


Dianna said...

Do you use a ball-point pen or a fountain pen, Karen? I'd love to go back to using a fountain pen but I'm having a hard time finding one...that doesn't cost a fortune. A quill wouldn't harm the environment, but then someone would fuss that too many birds were being used to obtain the quills. I feel your pain, Karen. And I had no idea about the grocery bags. I will need to go through mine and see if I have any that are 100% cotton. I guess this is what comes from progress?

Dewena said...

Oh Karen, I'm hoping that this was written just a tad bit tongue-in-cheek because otherwise I'm an environmental failure who confesses she doesn't spend nearly as much time as you do pondering these things. My two younger children do and have probably actually considered the points you raised.

I suppose it is only because my husband and I both like the feel of pens with refillable ink cartridges that we continue to buy them but some Bic throwaways are always around too. And I had never even remotely thought about my #2 Ticonderoga pencils being a landfill problem--they're always used down to a couple of inches anyway.

My hat's off to you,

Melanie said...

We recycle a lot - more than our neighbors, anyway. Our recycling bin (as big as our garbage bin) is always completely full every week. In fact, most weeks we have to use the neighbor's bin, too. We also compost. We use cloth napkins instead of paper ones, but I do use paper towels sometimes. When grocery shopping, I sometimes use my own bags and other times get the plastic because I use the plastic bags for scooping cat boxes. I try not to feel guilty about any of this. We all do the best we can, right?

Mereknits said...

You made me have a bit of a chuckle. I am the recycling queen at my house. I try to recycle everything I can get my hands on. The joke here is I will recycle it even if no one else thinks I should. I get so mad at my neighbors, they are always putting boxes out in the garbage the day before the recycling gets picked up. Why? Is it so hard to wait a day and recycle them? It drives me crazy. I have even taken them on occassion and put them out in my recycling.