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Please don’t throw this paper away

By Staff | Jan 7, 2018

I wonder where all those hippies of the late 1960s and early 1970s went?

You know, those long-haired, pot-smoking, anti-war, free love, “we are going to change the world” hippie freaks.

I think perhaps they are all probably retired, drawing Social Security and wintering in Arizona.

Many probably are in Colorado and California and are finally able to smoke marijuana “recreationally” and perfectly legally.

Well, sort of legally. Someday someone will explain to me how smoking pot is still against federal laws, but if you do it in certain states, it is legal, and yet not in others.

Now, I still wonder about making this drug legal, but I?guess that is a different story for another time.

Some of those hippie ideals, such as equality for everyone, regardless of race, sex, creed or religious beliefs, have actually progressed over the years.

We have had a black man as president. Who would have ever thought back in 1969 that would ever happen.

Still, racism and bigotry have not been erased from our culture. But, perhaps the youth of the country can quit seeing people by what color they are or what their culture is. My grandchildren have friends in a variety of skin tones, backgrounds and religions. And they don’t seem to care about any of that. They are just their friends, whether their names are Jack and Jill or Juan or Muhammad.

But, I digress.

I thought about those long ago days of trying to “change the world” the other day when I rolled out my recycling bin to the street.

I know. Sounds strange. But bear with me.

Recycling was one way that I thought we actually could make a difference in the world. And possibly have a big impact on the planet.

Ever been to a landfill? There are some huge ones in this country. Literally mountains of garbage. Ever seen the photos of the large garbage barges headed out of New York harbor to go dump the piles of trash out in the ocean?

We generate an awful lot of garbage in this country and around the world each and every day. In fact, every man, woman and child in this country averages creating 4.40 pounds of garbage every day.

We need to recycle as much as we can.

I know, you get that idea. But back in 1969 it was pretty radical. There was not a lot of recycling going on. People just threw everything away.

For many years, it was only aluminum cans that had any chance of being recycled.

Back in those years I had a vested interest in recycling one specific item newspapers.

That is because I owned a few of them. And because there was some public uproar about the newspaper industry killing trees to make newsprint, and saying newspapers were one of the major items going into landfills.

For a few years I chaired the Recycling Committee of the Minnesota Newspaper Association. Our goal was not only to get people to recycle their newspapers, but also to make sure newspapers were included in the items that newly formed recycling centers would accept and be able to recycle back into fresh, new newsprint again.

Because, you see, even if people want to recycle something, such as newspapers, there has to be a process in place for them to do so.

We were pretty successful. Newspapers are one of the items which are recycled at a very high rate these days. That means we are keeping them out of the landfills.

Speaking of recycling, the Blue Earth City Council learned last Monday that there are some issues with the way some folks are using the recycling bins. Mainly the problem is putting too many non-recyclable materials in the bins, or even a bunch of out-and-out garbage.

While there are many things we now can recycle, including newspapers, there still are things that cannot be.

Check the list furnished by B&B Sanitation and Recycling. You should have gotten one a couple of months ago. Or go get one at the Blue Earth City Hall. Learn what you can, and cannot, toss into that recycling bin.

And please do your part to cut down on the amount of garbage by recycling as much as you can. If you are not recycling, please start.

That includes tossing this copy of the Faribault County Register into the recycle bin after you are done with it.

Those hippies from the 1960s, who wanted to save the planet, will say thank you.

And so will I.