[GRRN] Teaching Teens

Brennan, Terry (tbrennan@CIWMB.ca.gov)
Tue, 26 Jan 1999 14:24:31 -0800

My two cents-

Everything we purchase is eventually disposed of. The decisions we make
when we buy something help to determine its relative toxicity, how long it
will last, whether it can be repaired, whether it can be reused, whether it
will be easily recyclable, and whether it has recycled content. Choose
wisely. This is the message I would be trying to get across to our next
generation of "consumers" (hate that word) if I had their collective ear.

The teen years are when we begin developing our purchasing power. I only
have pre-teen kids, but I know if they had money they'd buy all kinds of
landfill fodder simply because it was cool, in fashion, better than the one
they had, they saw the add, etc. Keep in mind that this includes my eleven
year old who began screaming "No , Daddy! The landfill! The landfill!"
when I tried to put a disposable diaper on her at the age of two (thought
I'd created a monster). We normally used cloth. Anyway....

It seems we Americans always want the latest greatest stuff, and that often
means "out with the old". It amazes me how many perfectly adequate items
are discarded at the landfill, often the result of some "upgrade". I'm not
in touch with today's teens, but it seems like electronic equipment,
clothing, CDs, jewelry, make up, sports equipment, collectibles, etc. are
all things that are big on their list of things to get. What is going to
happen to all those Beenie Babies(tm), anyway? Shouldn't they be developing
the thought process I mentioned above when they purchase?

I think waste prevention should be emphasized at least as much as recycling.
Saves them money, too.

Terry S. Brennan
Integrated Waste Management Specialist
California Integrated Waste Management Board
(916) 255-4733

Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the State of
California or the California Integrated Waste Management Board.