This perspective best describes me. I am very obsessed with recycling. I think I have a major psychological problem with it. I will dig through the trash to get out recyclable items my family has thrown away. When I go to my mother-in-laws for dinner every Sunday, I want to take home all the boxes, cans and bags that the food came in. I am constantly trying to change other people into being recyclers and do a lot of observation on how and if people recycle. I want to teach my son that care of the environment needs to be taken very seriously.
I didn’t recycle as a child, but when I moved to Germany while I was in the military, it was required that you recycled. The military gave us different colored recyclable bags, which helped in sorting cans, plastic and paper. A good example from Clay (2001) is “incentives like bottle deposits encourage people to recycle”. I think the influence of those rules turned me into an environmentalist. If you got caught not recycling or sorting your recyclables, there were consequences. I am not one for getting into trouble, so I was always sure I did it right. I feel so strongly about this because I have this picture in my mind of all this trash piling up around us and no clean air to breath.
I have a huge food and herb garden every year. I enjoy composting my food scraps and it also saves on our trash bill. Our local waste management facility offers compost bins for a cheaper price than you can buy it in the store, great incentive. I reuse items and make them into new things, often giving them away as gifts. I try to buy only items that have recycled packaging, which is very difficult sometimes. I am saving money by growing my own food and I know the food is free of chemicals. Being self sufficient is great for the environment because you leave a smaller footprint behind. This promotes healthier eating for my whole family. Someday I want to have my own greenhouse on our property, so that I can grow our food year round. We have ordered chickens this year and are starting the journey to having a small farm.
My son and I participate in Green Up Vermont every year and really have found it to give us a fresh look. If we did not participate in this event, the trash would keep piling up on our street. Our town clerk’s office supplies the bags for Green Up, so there are no costs to us.
I have a hard time understanding why people do not recycle and how they can just throw items away. My sister has a philosophy, if it is broke, don’t try to fix it, just buy a new one. I think environmental issues exist because of human behavior. Well said by Clay (2001), “Human behavior is the cause of environmental degradation”.
Clay, R. A. (2001). Research to the heart of the matter. Monitor on Psychology, 32(1), 42-45.
Davis, Stephen F. & Palladino, Joseph J. (2010). Psychology 6th edition. Psychology, Research, and You: The Environmental, Population, and Conservation Perspective, 30.