While you weren't paying attention, curbside recycling went from being a feel-good but pointless exercise in "caring about the environment" to being a religion:
A bill calling for a reevaluation of the definition of recycling has upset Indiana environmentalists, who fear it could lead to state dollars being siphoned away from curbside programs to fund incinerators that turn waste into energy.
Members of the Indiana Recycling Coalition are so worried about the bill they've launched a Web site - http://www.DefendRecycling.org - and delivered letters to lawmakers and Gov. Mitch Daniels' office spelling out their concerns.
Coalition president Melissa Kriegerfox said the group is "deeply concerned" about the bill, which would direct a summer study committee to consider whether projects such as burning waste automotive tires to generate power might be considered a form of recycling.
"No other state, nor the Environmental Protection Agency, considers waste-to-energy to be recycling," she said Tuesday. "I personally think it would undermine the credibility of the term recycling and how people perceive recycling if they change the definition."
So, putting your bottles and cans and old newspapers on the curb is a valid form of recycling and therefore good, and turning waste into energy is faux recycling and therefore bad?
I'm probably not the best one to evaluate this distinction. I have never recycled anything and never will, however that concept is defined. "Use it up and move on" is my motto. Bring on the landfills. Trying to endlessly reuse the same resources is the mark of a desperate people with no options, such as those that might be trapped on a desert island. Human ingenuity will always find a way to the next level, when we have to. Putting off the necessity that is the mother of invention is to deny the human imperative. How are we going to break out of this solar system and populate the rest of the universe if we don't get on with the job of using up this planet?