Generations of improvements – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

Ecological Sustainability is on the upswing. Each generation makes improvements and teaches their parents and grandparents. With discoveries from the lasts two years, there are many changes occurring. My generation, commonly referred to as baby boomers, grew up in the consumption orientedworld of Madison Avenue ads for the latest form of entertainment, called television. Suggestions now followed us into our own homes. We learned and sang the jingles. “Howdy Doody” sold Curad Bandaids and Ovaltine. We, and our parents, were encouraged to buy, use, and throw “out” to “keep up with the Joneses”. But, as adults, we began to discover that the world was on an unsustainable path. We thought shoppingfor used “stuff” and having less children would fix this. It was insufficient.

We raised Gen X children who collected cans an discovered the benefits of reusing glass bottles by returning them to the store.The Millennials and Generation Z expanded the concept of recycling, creating an industry that collects useless stuff, originally intended for single,short term use, and rehabilitates it into raw materials for remanufactured goods.They spread composting, a staple of the farm, to urban back yards and began recycling “hard to recycle” items.

But, perhaps, the answer lies in altered buying habits. Older generations volunteer and donate to improve our ecological status. We often invest in ecological endeavors and companies. We buy electric cars and solar systems. We work hard to get rid of discards ecologically, but, until recently, wecontinued to purchase items that are bad for the environment or that make use of poor packaging choices. Our younger counterparts allow such choices to affect their decisions at the purchasing end. And these adult children vote!  So maybe, there will be changes!

Each generation, however, learns from those that follow them. My husband and I, despite being Baby Boomers, now compost, no longer paying to landfill our kitchen waste, nor adding it to the water stream through the kitchen disposal. We use reusable napkins, kitchen towels, “travel” cups, silicone “baggies”, shopping bags, and straws to avoid buying (over and over) something designed to be thrown out (even if it is recyclable). By the way, an assortment of Earth Friendly Alternatives will be available at the League of Women Voters — Community Recycling Committee booth for Duck Race on May 7.

At our house, we not only recycle the disposables accepted at the Residential Recycling Center (RRC), we also donate other discards to Planet Partners, listed on the www.estesrecycles.comwebsite, and take some things (like shredded paper, clam shells, electronics, and polystyrene foam blocks (often misnamed Styrofoam) down to Eco-cycle in Boulder. …We frequent a variety of second-hand stores, especially those in Estes, both for purchasing and for disposal. We have a particular affinity for Cliffhanger’s Used Books. Unwanted metal, we take to Andersen’s in Greeley, but there are recyclers in Loveland and Fort Collins who also buy metal. … Likewise, Uncle Benny’s in Loveland will purchase leftover building, remodeling supplies and many Uncle Benny’s items, from windows to appliances, adorn our house.

Many others in the Estes Valley do the same. I would like to hear from you. It would be an immense help if you would tell me where you take or send things for disposal, where you shop for second hand goods, what you have substituted for the “use and throw” items like paper towels, what laws you think would improve our sustainability, and other ways that you save the environment, day by day.

Agree? Disagree? Additions?

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