John and I do our best to minimize consumption and waste. At our home in Oregon, we recycle, we compost, and we repurpose. It's pretty easy. But when you live on a boat, you become more aware of how much trash and recycling you create because you have to live with it until you arrive at a port. If that port is in a rural community or a foreign country, recycling may not be an option, and therefore the recycling just becomes trash. Insert sad face.
Throughout our travels, there have been a few BIG thought-provoking moments. For instance, I was appalled that the Municipal Marina in Port Angeles, WA did not have recycling; they're neighbors to a National Park after all. In La Paz, Mexico, our marina had recycling bins, but when they dump the bins, they just ended up co-mingled with the trash. In the town of Loreto, Mexico, we awoke one morning to the unmistakable smell of burning trash, and that trash most definitely included plastics.
I have found places that will take my plastics and aluminum in Mexico, but I have to backpack them to separate locations. It's worth it to me though. I started thinking that if places don't have the capability to deal with recycling, then residents need to come up with other options. I'm talking about things beyond bringing your reusable shopping bags to the store. I'm talking about things like choosing the packaging that you'll allow yourself to purchase. For instance, I'm a big fan of Topo Chico, a mineral water in Mexico. In most places, it comes in a plastic bottle, though. So, despite my love of this delicious beverage, I choose not to drink it. Most of the time;)
The thoughts keep coming. Even if there is the option to recycle, wouldn't it just be better to cut back? After all, recycling takes energy via transportation and processing. It's too easy to think that if we recycle, we aren't creating 'waste'. Trust me, I am by no means perfect on this matter. I am doing my best, though. I plan to think about it more, practice better habits, ask more questions, and observe as I travel.
Thanks for listening to my rant!