Opinion: Many reasons to remember it’s important to recycle

The other day I watched a seminar on emerging viruses, like AIDS and Ebola. Many of these viruses originate in places where people are in close contact with wild animals, often at the edges of forests in Africa. A researcher on the panel had visited one of these places: a logging camp deep in the rainforest.
The people there were subsisting entirely on bush meat (wild game), including monkeys. Truckers carrying huge logs were also carrying sexually transmitted diseases along their routes. In addition to the danger of viruses, the destruction of the rainforest and its complex ecosystem was disheartening to see.
The researcher asked what the wood was being used for. Were these beautiful hardwoods being used to make fine furniture or musical instruments? No, they were going to make matches and toilet paper.
 That made me think about a little study I did at Hannaford one day. I counted and found that only about 7 percent of the rolls of paper towels were recycled. It’s a similar story with toilet paper. We are all well aware of how we recycle our waste, putting it in the right bins and making sure the haulers pick it up. But there’s a second half to the cycle, and that’s buying recycled products.
Recycled toilet paper, napkins, paper towels and plastic trash bags are all available and the quality is just fine. In environmentally conscious Vermont, I would hope to see the percentage of use go way up.
Chris Robbins

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