MRF Field Trip Reflection

I was trying to practice writing an opinion piece, so I used the first person voice.

Floor to ceiling paintings of lively characters, and colorful objects, showing the step by step process of recycling. A pink bunny slipper, a container of popcorn, and a pearl necklace. A sea of discarded objects, all sandwiched between happy layers of clay, sand and plastic. Walking up the stairs to the classroom at the W.R. Wheeler Service Center brought back childhood memories for me. When I was little, I remember visiting a recycling facility with my elementary school classmates. That facility also had a beautiful mural showing the goodness of the recycling process. I think it’s all too easy to focus only on the magic of turning old materials into new things, and to forget that waste reduction, and being responsible about our own waste, is just as important.

Seeing the recycling process for the second time today, has made me realize that there is a cost to recycling too. It is reusable waste, but it is waste nonetheless. Workers have to separate items by hand as streams of trash come racing down the conveyor belts. The warehouse is cold, and not well illuminated. There are quite a few automated processes at work to help with sorting, but people are still needed, working 5AM-3PM and 5PM-3AM shifts at minimum wage. While some might argue that recycling facilities create jobs, are these jobs anyone would particularly want to have? If we all contributed by reducing our waste, and taking five minutes to sort through our recyclables, maybe recycling facilities would look a lot different. Maybe all workers would need to do is operate the machinery to sort, compact the recyclables into bundles, stack them, and then place them in trucks. It would be a far cleaner operation overall. It would look a lot more like that mural that we like to show the kids, with smiling workers next to bundles of colorful recycled materials.

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About beawink

Graphic designer, illustrator, avid reader, and typography enthusiast.

One Response to “MRF Field Trip Reflection”

  1. Beatriz, I really like the way you frame your observations, describing the mural at the beginning and returning to it again at the end. That brings nice closure to the piece. The mural becomes more than just a decoration but also a metaphor for the happy stories we tell about recycling. Very nice.
    Please put a headline on this post that might entice someone to read it. Think about key words that someone searching for this kind of piece might use. Tag this post with those key words. Nice writing is good, but nice writing that attracts an audience is better, at least if you are practicing journalism. Thanks!

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