A Banana Peel By Any Other Name…

Src: flickr.com

Shakespeare, although talented and prolific probably didn’t have banana peels, coffee grounds, and cardboard pizza boxes in mind when he wrote Romeo and Juliet, but I have to respectfully disagree with William’s historic metaphor.  In the recycling, reuse and resource recovery world, labeling is everything.

For example:  I was recently on an airplane where I observed a very interesting recycling experiment.  As the plane was landing, a flight attendant announced to the passengers that he would be collecting all garbage on the descent into Oakland.  Perking up at the sound of garbage (sad, but true) I watched as the jovial flight attendant received everything from peanut foil wrappers to plastic cups, half-eaten sandwiches, and worst of all… aluminum cans.  Following him down the aisle was his partner in recycling crime, another flight attendant tasked to collect everything recyclable.  I watched as 3 or 4 people handed her water bottles and newspapers.  Presumably, these people are conscious of where their “garbage” will be going once thrown into that white plastic bag.

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I couldn’t help but think how the passenger’s habits would change if the flight attendant announced he would be picking up all “recycling, compostable materials, and finally, if I really have to, any non recyclable or non compostable items you may have leftover.”  Ok, maybe the last bit is a stretch, but I have to believe that the general, unassuming public would change their habits if we just broke the word garbage down a bit.

In this era of environmental consciousness, companies are making huge investments to become more “green”.  Imagine the difference the airline industry could make in consumer habits just by changing the way they refer to what is left behind after the passengers leave the plane.  This is a great way to show the public that a company cares about the environment, and it doesn’t cost them a cent.

So, let’s stop referring to our leave behinds as garbage, and start calling them what they really are: recyclables, compostables, and landfill destined materials.  With 2 million people flying on a daily basis, I believe the words will travel fast.

2 Responses to “A Banana Peel By Any Other Name…

  • nickeeze1
    11 years ago

    Flying to Colorado, that’s when I first noticed flight attendants picking up recyclable, compostable, and “garbage” items from passengers. I couldn’t agree more, if attendants phrased “garbage” differently which would better educate passengers, it will change their habits. Maybe some reading material regarding environmental consiousness along side those advertisement magazines can be a real eye opener!

  • Nice looking blog you have here. The theme is awesome, great color combination.

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