Column: Knowing When to Move On 

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As the lyrics from Bradley Cooper’s “Maybe It’s Time,” keep repeating in my head for some reason, my thoughts wander around two possible topics for my article this week - recycling and Joe Biden. 

Listening to the lyrics, “Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die” causes me to ponder how we hold onto old ways and habits far too long, since letting go sometimes is not so easy. 

Recycling and Biden; can’t let them go, but no longer working for us. Those lyrics keep haunting me, making it hard not to reckon with the truth, that it just might be time to let certain things go and embrace something new, because the old ways are no longer working.

This understanding might be why we have so many Democrats coming out of the woodwork to announce their candidacy for 2020. The powerful elite are getting very concerned. They know the gig is up, but are unable to move beyond those old ways. No one gives up or gains power without a struggle.

The establishment of the Democratic Party cannot accept the reality that Bernie Sanders keeps outpacing the corporate backed candidates, raising millions from small donors who are tired of being left behind. The party keeps pushing more and more candidates out there, desperate to have one of them start gaining some traction. The last hold-out is good ole Biden, the centrist who will save us all from that rebellious left wing of the party.  

Unfortunately, what is being offered is simply more of the same ole pig, just with new lipstick. “Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die, maybe it’s time.”

The same can be said about single-stream recycling, no longer working, but yet we still do it. We place all recyclables in a separate container every week, only to have it carted off to the same incinerator as our trash. Municipalities and large commercial enterprises still go through the delusionary motions of having a meaningful and successful recycling program in place.  

We continue to participate in this broken system, unwilling to make the changes that would actually make a difference. Stakeholders preach about the need to preserve the consumers’ current habits of recycling so that once single-stream recycling becomes profitable again all will be fine. That’s like waiting for rotary phones to make a comeback. Certain things are just not going to happen ever again. Surprise, surprise, not everything your mother told you turned out to be true. One day you realize that Santa Claus does not slip down the chimney and leave gifts under the tree, that the Tooth Fairy does not magically leave money under your pillow, and now it’s time to stop believing that the items inside our green bins are actually being recycled. The lyrics once again start repeating in my head, “Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die...”

Here in South Florida, Waste Management is making a lot of money keeping the recycle charade going. Nationally our current political elite would like to keep the old power structure in place just the same by holding on to the goose that lays the golden egg, while so many Americans are struggling to get by, working two jobs, still not making ends meet. But don’t dare mention free education or talk about alternative solutions, don’t dare look for something new, just keep believing in the old ways. It’s too hard to change those old habits, and just takes a lot to try. 

Let’s face it, the old ways are no longer working, and those who are profiting are just not ready to let go. Some cities here in South Florida are seeking new alternatives to deal with recycling. Glass, cardboard, and aluminum still have viable markets, so why not limit recycling programs to just the items that are still marketable? 

Why pay more to have plastics and soiled non-recyclables carted away to an incinerator or quite possibly a landfill rather than limiting their usage in our society? Hopefully Wilton Manors will take a fresh new look at some alternatives, similar to the cities of Sunrise, Deerfield Beach and others. Dealing with all the plastic straws getting trashed during Happy Hour up and down Wilton Drive is a start, but is only a drop in the bucket. We must emphasis the other “R’s” in the equation and begin to reuse and reduce far much more now that easy single-stream recycling no longer works for us. Creating change, altering old habits and initiating a new direction takes an enormous leap of faith, but faith in the future will only make life just better here.

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