Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

On the Edge of Common Sense: Recycling isn’t pretty

Baxter Black Published on 07 December 2012

This fall I’m watching Peyton Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, follow in the footsteps of Bret Favre. They both had stellar careers as heroes of the game. But as their retirement drew near, they signed with a desperate team in hopes of one more year in the spotlight.

In a small town with high unemployment and a poor economy, a local entrepreneur named Del converted open space into a recycling center. He takes everything from plastic bottles to scrap iron. It has become a small success. He has at least two employees. The community is pleased – well, not all of them. You see, his property is on Main Street on the way into town.

The Wednesday weekly paper has received several letters to the editor condemning the recycling center as an eyesore. Del promised to improve its appearance. He faced the road-front with old sheets of roofing tin eight feet high. Now it looks like a prison camp – but the pop cans, cardboard and wheel rims keep on coming, as do letters to the editor!



Recycling isn’t pretty. I don’t care if you’re reclaiming open-pit mines, spreading chicken manure on the pasture or hauling a dead horse to the rendering plant. It is a process that offends the sensibilities of some people watching, smelling or even just imagining the act.

The abhorrence of recycling is so strong that some people will object to it even though they know it is bettering the earth and the environment. Pink slime is a perfect example. They destroyed a recycling process that had no downside just because the image in their brain was offensive.

Millions of people objected to the grazing and timbering of government forestland because of aesthetics: “… clear-cutting leaves a savage scar on the earth when we’re flying over it.” We are now paying for their shortsightedness and will for decades to come. Burning is the earth recycling itself.

Some might be repelled by the thought of making fur coats out of road kill, feeding horsemeat to zoo animals or dumping their own garbage out to sea. And I agree that Peyton and Bret look a little ragged out there on the field. But by recycling them, think of the damage averted to younger, less savvy, second-string quarterbacks. It gives the green ones a year to ripen.

I believe in recycling though, I admit, I don’t save, sterilize and re-sharpen my used disposable 18-gauge vaccination needles or pull out old plastic ear tags from the weaners at shipping time for reuse.


I wish old quarterbacks, cowboys and retired sergeants good luck – but it would be nice to recycle old politicians more often. I’m just not sure what you could reuse them for? Although I do have a field that needs fertilizing. I know it sounds awful but, as I have noted, recycling is not pretty. PD