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I just celebrated/worked several events. At least one was public where I coordinated recycling and composting and at least one wasn't where I didn't.

At the private event an old friend, upon discovering that I am now a recycler in the environmental movement, asked if it bothered me to be at an event like this that generated waste. "Just think!" she commented, "there are hundreds or thousands of events like this going on every day all the time - that creates SO much garbage!" I replied that I would rather not and changed the subject.

She was just trying to get a reaction out of me - which really wouldn't serve any purpose. If I were to get riled up about recycling what would that do? I would much rather enjoy the company of friends I haven't seen for awhile and possibly make a few new ones.

It may seem contradictory that I can be so passionate about my job and yet draw such boundaries. However I don't see it that way. My job isn't just to maximize recycling - it is to prove that waste is preventable. This isn't done by becoming psychotic-recycler at all parties, which wouldn't be any fun, would burn me out, alienate my friends, kill my social life, and make it more difficult to do my job.

Quite frankly I would rather not focus on all the parties where people aren't recycling and my services aren't requested. I'd rather use my energy to help people who are interested in waste reduction at parties, fundraisers and other events - there are already more of those than I can handle. I prefer to focus on the ten events that included recycling in the last month and the five I'll work on in the coming month, or the two in the past week that diverted nearly a hundred percent of the waste generated by several thousand people into composting and recycling. I like thinking about the dozens of volunteers who helped make this possible and learned a bit about recycling and composting in the process.

Every event helps spread the message to more people that waste really is preventable. It won't happen today and it won't happen just by recycling and composting. However, step-by-step, with patience and persistence, it will happen.

Leaving the bathroom today, about to rejoin some friends plotting politics and change in our corner of the world, I glanced at the pile of paper towels in the corner. "Just you wait," I told them, with a drunken grin on my face. "One of those days everyone is going to look at you and see what I see - compost!"

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