Being in Korea has opened my eyes to the incredible amount of resources America wastes. Sure you hear about it all the time, but seeing another country in comparison is astounding.
At my aunt’s apartment complex, where I’ve been staying these past few months, there are separate waste bins for decomposable (food) waste, plastic, glass, metal, paper, non-recyclables and even designated bins for donations (i.e. clothes). This isn’t just a particular system for my aunt’s apartment or city. This is standard practice all over Korea. Some fast food restaurants even have special containers just for paper cups to be recycled.
This is incredible on two parts: (1) That Korea has such a solid system set up and (2) that people actually follow. In Korea, recycling is just a given, a norm, commonplace, a standard!
In many places in the US, it’s almost a hassle to recycle. You have to request recycling services, which even then are limited in what they can take. Either that, or you have to drive around yourself to drop off your recyclables. Even in places that have rather impressive and simple recycling systems, people STILL refuse to put in that minuscule effort. In New York City, papers products go in the green bins; aluminum, plastic, and glass go in the blue bins; and everything else goes to trash. The city picks it up for you, and your job is finished. Easy as taking out the garbage. And yet, so much still goes to waste.
Now I’m sure there are avid recyclers around that are exceptions to these claims, but if my experience around SVA and its dorms are proof of anything, it’s that the vast majority is still TOO DAMN LAZY.
Honestly, it’s not that hard.