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December 4, 2017: Recycle!

It is quite interesting how the mind processes information and deems what’s important and what is not. Being the cognitivist that I am, I would like to know what neurological processes take place when this happens. I might, in the future, take a neurobiology course, but in the meantime, I am attempting to write a book in which I am attempting to convince my readership of the importance of recycling.

I’m doing this in part through the use of interviews, narratives, and visuals. The visuals are maps and photos. I want this book to be constructed and organized in such a way that first of all, readers keep reading, and second of all, that they finish what they’ve read understanding why it’s

Pete and Alys's recycling center

important to recycle and how they might easily go about it.

Carole Henry (the volunteer coordinator for VCRS) and I agreed that we should have a “Prepare for the Fair” section. In this part we’ll have information about how to get ready for a day at the fair. For example, we’ll suggest they bring their own utensils and lunches. I had another idea today – we might also suggest that they bring containers and take fair leftovers home.

The more I work on this project the more I am learning. In the process my mind is taking in information and deeming what’s important and what’s not. I previously sort of knew what the various types of recyclables were. Sort of. I didn’t really know the differences between a #1, #2, and #5 beverage container. I do now. Very shortly I am going to do some research and further make the distinctions. This is not just for the book – it’s also because I now see the importance of recycling. And because I see the importance of recycling, I now see the importance of getting the right materials in the right home bins.

A case in point – this morning I picked up an empty dental floss container. It was sitting on the edge of the bathroom sink. I turned it over and noticed that it was a #5 container. I knew that #5 is less plentiful than other recyclable material. And I also knew that #5 can be recycled.

I previously would have tossed this item in the garbage. Of course, I would have felt some remorse in doing this. I always feel remorse in throwing anything plastic into the garbage. I then rationalize my actions by saying, well, not everything is recyclable.

My now having spent time with VCRS staff and others who are knowledgeable about the ins and outs of recycling has caused me to create new neural pathways. My sensory apparatus says to the brain “hey you, pay attention here. Throwing this item away is antithetical to what you now know.”

So the dental floss container is sitting on the shelf above the recycling bins. I don’t think we have a #5 container. I have not yet figured out what I’m going to do about this – but I know for sure that this seemingly insignificant item is not going to end up in the Palmer Landfill.

Next: 336. 12/5/17: Health and Physical Fitness: Dental Incidentals

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