Wednesday, March 18, 2009

This New Old Biddy Goes Green! (Or how I'm the last person to jump on this bandwagon cuz I'm an idiot)

My day job, when I'm not being HILARIOUS, is working as a very serious, hard-working producer for cable reality television.  So the other day, I was talking with a co-worker and we got to chatting about "living green."  Here's the conversation that ensued:

ME:  "I have been trying to go more green lately."
Co-Worker: "Yeah, but I hate when people think recycling makes them 'so responsible.'  I mean, that started 20 years ago.  It's not new, it's just part of life."
ME:  (high pitched nervous laugh)  "HAHAHAHHAA!  Yeah.  HAHAHAHA!  Jerks those people. ... Jackasses even.  HAHAHAHAHAA!  Ahem... oh look, is that the time?  Is that clock made out of recycled plastic, do you think?  HAHAHA!  I should go mulch something.  TA!"

You see, I'd JUST started seriously recycling about a week prior to this conversation.  And I'm 30-mumble-years-old.


Okay.  Now before you go all Ed Begley Jr. all over my ass, just calm your organic rage for a nan-second and listen while I defend myself with very well thought out (and legit) excuses:

1)  Recycling bins are not always available in LA... but porn is accessable 24/7.  You would think recycling in LA would be easy, right?  WRONG.  I've lived her for 10+ years and I'm currently living in the first apartment to have recycling bins.  All my other apartment managers told me, "It's too expensive to get recycling for our building."  Awesome.  Your Coach purse was expensive too, but you got that, didn't you?  Is that saving the Earth or just your reputation around your fake friends?  (I like to project.)  So I place blame on my past apartment managers (cuz it's easy and true).

2) I tried to recycle once and failed worse than Donald Trump in a hair show.  When I was married, my husband and I decided, "Even though our building doesn't have a recycling program, let's keep everything and recycle on our own."  So we kept everything!  Bottles, plastics, cans, cardboard, magazines, all paper, etc.  Now, let me explain.  We were not rich people and lived in an already cramped apartment, so then throw on top of that the fact that we were actively saving our garbage... let's just say that my OCD tendencies were stretched to their limit, along with my patience and good nature.  So after living in our own personal Unstrung Heroes, we finally loaded up the car and went to the recycling plant. We were so jovial, "We're contributing to saving our planet!" we said.  (We were also thrilled to have a place to walk in our apartment again.)  Fast forward to 2 HOURS LATER... we emerged hot, filthy, angry and with a whole $8 in our pocket for our endeavors.  We felt like we'd done a lot of work for nothing.  We sacrificed our living environment and comfort level for $8.  Let's just say that was the last time we visited the recycling plant.

3)  I'm stupid... and stuff.  I admit that I never really gave that much thought about it.  I left phone chargers plugged in all the time.  I'd leave with lights left on so I could identify the Boogie Man when I got home (he's real, ya'll!).  I'd throw away cans, bottles, paper, plastics and everything else into the garbage can.  I'd drive around at night for over an hour just cuz I didn't want to go home yet.  I thought Earth Day was "cute."  I really just didn't get it.

But the day I got it... OMG, I got it.  I happened to notice that my medicine bottles from the pharmacy were recyclable. (I told you I was clueless, so stop yelling!)  I stopped to think...

I've been on average 2 medicines a day since 1990.  Refilling 1x a month.  So that's 24 bottles a month.  24 bottles a year x 18 years... 432 bottles (minimum - I get other random illnesses a lot) that could have been recycled.  

My stomach sank.  That's just medicine bottles.  I read like 9 magazines a month.  I'm a writer, I've printed THOUSANDS of pages over the years.  Tossed hundreds of water bottles.  I don't even want to think about all the carboard packaging I've thrown out over the years.

Holy.  Shit.  Balls.  
I.  Am.  An.  Asshole.

Dear Planet Earth,

I'm so sorry, I hope you can forgive me.  
And I hope that my not recycling doesn't contribute to the end of the world... 
Electricity is The Devil!
Jennifer (Eolin)

PS - Is it okay that my dog pees on you?

So now, "going green" has become a lifestyle that I'm trying to incorporate into every aspect of my life without becoming a complete snotty twit about it.  Oh sure, it's been about 4 weeks of this lifestyle, but better late than never, right?  I recycle everything thanks in part to my awesome apartment manager having the wherewithall to be environmentally conscious!  I unplug everything that I'm not using (still working on the TV and electronics).  I got my dog a patch of grass for inside the apartment so I wouldn't have to use pee pads (which were filling up my garbage can every other day!).  I have re-usable bags for when I shop.  I use cold water to wash my clothes (thank you Coldwater Deep Clean Tide!) and I'm saving to buy a eco-friendly car.  I think I've found a solar charger for my cell phone even!  

I know there are a million other things I can do to be green, but I'm still in square one of all this. So short of turning Amish (the most eco-friendly people on the planet!) this is my contribution to keeping the Earth from committing suicide.  Maybe someday I'll even get a mulcher for my apartment (although I'm not sure what I'd do with the mulch...) and solar panels for my car (even though it will probably look stupid, kinda like the Smart Car which really doesn't look that smart, to be honest).  But until then, I'm gonna be really excited about my bag of recyclables.  And try to figure out how to get my dog hooked up to a wind mill...


  1. Well, I don't know about those Amish space heaters . . .

  2. I worked on a gig for Green Planet, and the hostess, Summer Raines (yep, real name) is like the spokesmodel for Green.

    I asked her at lunch what the one thing was people could do for the planet.

    She said "Stop having children."

    Penn and Teller called BullShip on recycling on their TV show. Still, I tend to recycle a bit, but came very late to the game. I still run water when I'm brushing my teeth (in the drought-ravaged Central Valley). I'm bad.

    But I can't wait to buy a hybrid.

  3. There are tons of green blogs. One that I read and go back to repeatedly is
    Beth is living a (mostly) plastic free life. It's amazing how prevalent plastic is in our life.

    One thng that I have done to live greener is keep reusable bags in my car so I don't accumulate plastic bags from (any) store. It's funny to see the looks on the cashiers at Old Navy when I tell them I have my own bag.

    Don't make too many changes at once. Do one and do it for a month straight, by then it will be a habit and you can pick up another one. Pretty soon, you'll be living on a commune way outside LA and eating home grown veggies and washing your floors with grey water.
    Good Luck!
    xo c

  4. first off....the planet understands about leaving the lights on, the planet is equally scared of the Boogie Man.

    Second off....BRAVO! One of my favorite shows is Sports Night (I don't like to say was Sports Night), I quote it often but most don't know what I'm talking about...sigh...however there's an episode where they talk about giving money to charities and how do you decide who is worthy lady (Natalie) said it best, it doesn't matter who you give to or how much all you have to do is, "GET IN THE GAME!" I love that idea. No matter what you are doing you are doing better than you were when you weren't doing anything at all.

    Keep it up!

  5. I just learned yesterday in my college speech class that it takes 700 YEARS for a plastic bottle to START decomposing.


  6. Thanks for all the encouragement! It's a change that makes me feel like I'm actually participating in society instead of just existing in society. It's nice.

    I saw that episode of Bullshit!! I found it enlightening. I love seeing all sides of the story. There seem to be pros and cons to both sides for sure.

    700 years for a plastic bottle to start decomposing? Sigh... That sucks.

  7. I didn't start recycling until we moved into our house. Our trash provider also does recycling. We have one huge can for trash and one huge can for recycling. We don't have to separate papers and plastics or anything. We just throw it all into the bin. We also get recycle reward points that we can use towards tons of places (I choose to use them for groceries.)

    But can I just say I hate the term "going green?" "Going green" makes it seem like this new, cool trend. It just bugs me...haha.

  8. YES! "Going green" makes it sound very hip, doesn't it? Remember when it was "Granola" as a term for it all? Nobody wanted to be a part of it then.

    OO! Recycle points - that's so nice!

  9. I do have to say that I am lucky to have grown up in Oregon where recycling was fairly ingrained in me from the time I was a child.

    I will totally give you the excuse that recycling SUCKS in L.A....I had the worst time with it there and it drove me nuts!

    But I *did* start a recycling program at the apartment building I managed and it wasn't hard/ no excuses for them!

    And just so you know, I am still "bad" on a few things myself...unplugging my TV, other electronics that I use more regularly, not driving a hybrid yet, etc. But I am doing my best and improving all the time!

    YAY US!

  10. Bottled Water is just about the least green thing out there. Plastic bottles get made in one place, transported to another to be filled, sent all over the country where people pay good money for something that comes out of the tap. The resources used are terrible. It's such a scam.

    Get a reusable bottle, hopefully something aluminum and not plastic as your first big step toward being more ecologically responsible.
    xo c

  11. YES! I admit that I do get the water with electrolytes in it (I dehydrate at the drop of a hat). I wish I knew how to make my own! It is a scam!

  12. Buy a SIGG water bottle. ( They're made from aluminum and are recyclable when it gets too damaged to use anymore. Replace all of your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. And when you go for groceries use reusable produce bags for your fruits & veggies, which you can then put into your canvas shopping bag. You can find the produce bags on Etsy. (

  13. Am I late to the comments? No, ok... So, I do WAY more for the environment than any of you and it takes WAY less effort to get it done. I know, you're all screaming at me 'How, how is that possible? Tell me you fat little kid, HOW??'
    I will, but no more spitting on me.

    Here is my secret, right in the next line, are you ready?

    I don't recycle. Therefore, I put less stress on the recycling 'machine' of extra garbage trucks and nasty chemicals. I also help increase the number of trees using the simple theory of supply and demand that says if we recycle paper then the demand for trees will drop, which means we have less trees and less of that nature crap so many people like to stare at during long weekends in the state park.

    In short: Recycling does more to hurt pretty momma Earth then it does to help. Recycling helps garbage companies make money and nice, kind, well meaning but uninformed people feel better about themselves.

    Who wants a brownie?



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