Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When I lived in Germany a pal and I were ambling, not to say flanuering, around town when he suggested a coffee. I waited outside while he went in to the cafe to get two to go that our drinking wouldn't interfere with our ambling. He returned sans coffee because they didn't have to-go cups in Germany. This was true everywhere I went in Germany, if I wanted a coffee it was into the cafe sit down and enjoy a Milchkaffee with the free sugar cookie

or find a Stehcafe

and pay the refundable rent, if I wanted to drink outside, on a porcelain cup and enjoy the coffee standing. At first I thought this was an odd custom but the advantages of being forced to relax and drink you coffee or tea quickly because obvious.

Later when I went into a grocery, I discovered that bags cost money. It was something like 12 American pennies for a plastic bag or 50 American pennies for a spiffy cotton sack.  Again an odd custom but one quickly adapted to. Not least because the cotton sacks, which are ubiquitous in German gift shops, when folded up fit in a regular pants pocket unlike the plasticine monstrosities here in the good ole US of A, long may her amber waves wave.

Why bring this up? Well today I took the crazy little dog

for a walk.[1]  Is was a 45 min maybe an hour walk with at least part of it through a park. In the park we ambled on a bike/walking path that threaded through a stand of trees to small be forest and too large to be a clump; on or next to this path I saw little piles of Starbucks coffee cups one after the other. They lay in piles of two or three between  five or ten feet apart. I was just going to walk on cursing the louts who still in this day and age litter. When I espied a large Trget  plastic sack. Consequently

One of them I picked up off of someone's front yard; the rest were scattered through the non-forest-yet-non-clump of trees miles from any Starbucks.

My point is simple, increase the costs of throwing crap hither and yon and fewer people will throw crap hither and yon; plus you will be forced to sit still and enjoy the warm and warming beverage of your choice, ideally with a free sugar cookie; one can arrive at this kind of a solution to an everyday problem if and only if one is the kind of anti-idiot American who thinks that while this is a great place to live it's not perfect and a good idea is a good idea no matter who comes up with it.

Enjoy your coffee.

I do it's true drink mineral water or seltzer which comes in nonreturnable bottles; however, when in Germany, where I developed the addiction, I drank Bismarck mineralwasser, which came with three degrees of bubbliness,

and everything had to be returned including the caps.

[1] I think of it as a walk she thinks of it as an extended opportunity to sniff things and chase squirrels.

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