I have the pleasure or working with Kent State’s Donate Life Ohio (DLO) team. PRKent is involved in a  statewide college competition of getting people to donate life or in other words sign up to give life after their life has ended.The DLO girls, whom I completely adore, were working on their presentation last night.

The question came up about the whole green movement and the power of recycling. Brittany Thoma, a team member, is an environmental advocate.

After the girls and I had a debate about wasting paper, she asked the question, “how hard is it to recycle?”

I started thinking about that simple question today and realized the answer is – not hard, not that hard at all. But if that’s the case, why don’t I do it?

I utilize the recycling bins at work and often try to separate my beer and pop cans from the rest of the garbage, but I don’t really make an effort to really recycle.

What is it? Am I so busy that I can’t separate the paper from the plastic? After all, I separate the whites from the darks when doing laundry to save my darling white, Express button up from looking dingy.

But there lies the problem. Separating laundry is something I, like the rest of the world, just do. Unfortunately, even after all this green hoopla, recycling doesn’t rest in the “it’s something I just do” category.

Doing informal primary research, I asked some of my friends, between the ages of 21 and 24, if they recycle. All of them answered in a similar way: “If there is a recycle bin, I’ll throw paper in it, but other than that I don’t really make an effort.”

The exception to the rule of course is unless my broke college friends want to make an extra buck. Then, they make sure all the aluminum cans after a party are separated, crushed and taken to the local recycling facility for upwards of $20.

And that’s the real, unenvironmental truth my friends. If we can’t see its initial benefit, it is something that gets put on the backburner. Although some green advocates of my generation will jump through hoops and ladders to save the environment, a large number of them don’t really care to put in the effort.

So I will leave you with one final question. In terms of my generation, how much of an impact is this green movement having on small, daily efforts like recycling? Of course I have heard of people talk about buying green cars or installing a sky light in their first home, but this is all for show. These things are only admirable because they scream “I AM GREEN” to the world. It should be the physical act of being green that counts, not how many expensive items we buy the gives the perception of being green.

How can green marketing and PR shift to make going green “something we just do”?

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