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[greenyes] Michael Moore Quote
Some of you were asking for the direct quote.

Page 120-121, Stupid White Men by Michael Moore

Chapter 6

Nice Planet, Nobody Home

      I'd like to begin this chapter by revealing what I believe is one of 
the greatest threats currently facing our environment. 
     That's right-I'm a walking ecological nightmare.
     I am the Mother of All Bhopals!
     Let's start with this: I don't recycle.
     I think recycling is like going to church-you show up once a week, it 
makes you feel good, and you've done your duty. Then you can get back to all 
the fun of sinning!
     Let me ask you this: do you honestly know where all those newspapers go 
after you drop them off at the recycling center, or where you soda pop 
bottles end up after you put them in the blue recycling containers? To some 
facility that will recycle them? Says who?
Have you ever followed the truck that picks up your recyclables to see where 
it goes?
Do you care? Is it enough for you to separate your glass from your plastic, 
your paper from your metals-and then leave the follow-through to someone 
     I will never cease to be amazed at the lemming like nature of human 
beings and our unquestioning obedience to authority. If the sign says 
Recycle, we do our part, and assume everything we put in there will be 
recycled. If the trash can is blue, we figure that's a surefire guarantee 
that the glass jars we place in there will be crushed, melted down, and made 
into new bottles of Ragu.
    Well, think again.
    One night, coming home late from work, I witnessed the garbage men 
tossing those earnestly clear blue garbage bags full of glass into their 
truck's crusher along with all the other garbage. I asked the guy who works 
in our building if that was normal.
     "They got a lot of garbage to pick up," he said. "Sometimes they don't 
have time to separate everything."
     I wondered if this was just an anomaly-or the norm. Here's a few things 
I found out:
     In the mid-1990's, Indian environmental activists discovered that Pepsi 
was creating a complicated waste disposal problem in their country. Used 
plastic from Pepsi bottles turned in for recycling in the United States was 
being shipped over to India to be recycled back into Pepsi bottles or other 
plastic containers. But the senior manager of the Futura Industry factory 
outside of Madras, where most of the waste was being dumped, admitted that 
much of it was never actually recycled. To make matters worse, at around the 
same time the truth about the recycling was revealed, the company announced 
that it was going to open a company in India that would manufacture-of 
course-single-use disposable bottles for export to the United States and 
Europe, leaving toxic byproducts behind in India. So while India has been 
bearing the environmental and health burdens, consumers in industrialized 
countries continue using plastic products without suffering any of the 
drawbacks. And all the while we consumers cruise blissfully along, confident 
that we're improving the environment by "recycling".
     In another instance, a magazine in San Francisco contracted with a paper 
recycler to pick up all its white waste paper each month. When one employee 
followed the trash out the door one day, he saw that the paper intended for 
recycling was being tossed in with the discarded McDonald's wrappers and 
Starbucks cups. When confronted about it, the waste recycling company denied 
     In 1999 an investigation of what happens to all the waste created by 
Congress (insert your own joke here) discovered that 71 percent of the 2,670 
tons of paper used that year by the legislative branch was not recycled 
because it had been mixed in with food waste and other nonrecyclable 
materials. That same year up to 5,000 tons of glass bottles, aluminum cans, 
cardboard, and other recyclable waste on Capitol Hill was simply dumped in a 
landfill, no questions asked. Had Congress properly recycled these products, 
it could have saved taxpayers up to $700,000.
     In instance after instance, I found the same thing. No real recycling 
was taking place. We were being conned.
    So I stopped recycling. I came to the conclusion that when I recycled, 
what I was really doing was letting myself off the hook. As long as I did my 
little paper-glass-metal separation duty, I wasn't required to do anything 
else to save Planet Earth. Once my bottles and cans and newspapers were 
deposited in the appropriately colored barrels, I could press reset on my 
conscience and trust that someone else would do the rest of the job. Out of 
sight, out of mind, back inside my gas-guzzling minivan.


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