The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

rough handling

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“follow” me on Twitter at @newtownpentacle

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Rejoice, for this is the day when men and women return to their ancestral villages and seaside hamlets, gathering beneath cobbled roofs and behind garret windows to celebrate “America Recycles Day”. Children shall be offered solemn pledges and vast ritual amalgamations of litter will be assembled for display and dissemination. Many and varied will be the manifestations of this occasion, which is ultimately rooted in the solemn traditions set down by a group known as “Keep America Beautiful”.

from wikipedia

America Recycles Day (ARD) is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. ARD is celebrated annually on November 15. The World Recycling Day celebrated in most countries, though falls on July 8. Thousands of events are held across the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and to encourage Americans to sign personal pledges to recycle and buy products made from recycled materials.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Gaze in astonished wonder at the industry of man, and the tyranny of wealth. Imagine, if you would, the raw tonnages of refined metals displayed in these shots. Surely, just in today’s posting, we are seeing a greater amount of waste metals than an entire nation might be capable of producing just a scant 200 years ago. We waste so much, and our culture- if nothing else- will prove itself a boon to future archaeologists.

The multitudinous middens of the megalopolis, well moistened with motor oil, will stand as our monument.

from wikipedia

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 by consortium of American businesses (including founding member Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, PepsiCo, and Coca-Cola) nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and concerned individuals in reaction to the growing problem of highway litter that followed the construction of the Interstate Highway System, and an increasingly mobile and convenience-oriented American consumer. The original goal of the organization was to reduce litter through public service advertising (PSA) campaigns.

Keep America Beautiful conducted many local PSA campaigns early in its history. One of these early campaigns in Pennsylvania (PENNDOT), some attribute to having coined the term “litterbug”, as opposed to the New York Transit Authority. There is some confusion over the origin of the actual word “litterbug” due to several early uses of it in widespread public service advertisements. It was, in fact, coined by Paul B. Gioni, a copywriter in New York City who originated it for The American Ad Council in 1947. Keep America Beautiful joined with the Ad Council in 1961 to dramatize the idea that every individual must help protect against the terrible effects litter has on the environment.

A popular television campaign theme in 1963, with copy written by Paul B. Gioni who also coined the word “litterbug” in 1947, was “Every Litter Bit Hurts”. Another appeared in 1964 featuring character Susan Spotless. In 1970 KAB began distributing a free brochure; more than 100,000 copies were requested within 4 months.

On Earth Day 1971, a new campaign was launched with the theme “People Start Pollution. People can stop it” featuring the now iconic “Crying Indian” played by Iron Eyes Cody.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Amongst those who tolerate my presence, some work in the recycling industry. A missive they ask a humble narrator to transmit reads as: “Recycle. Please. Don’t do it for us and our business, do it for your kids”. They continue that it’s probably already too late, and that the future is trashed. Perhaps, just perhaps, they are wrong. Until the ultimate answer is found to this disposables issue, they are likely being far more pragmatic than the rest of us. It is they, after all, who see the trucks tipping and collecting, and spend more time than they would like handling putrescent garbage as a loss leader.


Figuring out when, where and how to recycle in your community couldn’t be easier. Log on to and select the “Find Recycling” tab and click on the logo. This will direct you their recycling resource page, where you can enter the item type and your zip code to find the nearest recycling facility.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

By no means should this humble narrator be considered a creature of primal intelligence, good hygiene, or high moral turpitude. Neither should it be inferred that the role of exemplar is claimed, as far as the contributions of my own household to the problem. A lone and singular advantage is that I am instead smart enough to realize how smart I’m not, and realize the shallow depths of my grasp on the situation. Around here, we just try not to be too loose with using things that can’t be washed, or reused, or cross purposed. How about you?

from wikipedia

Recycling statistics:

  • 251 million – tons of trash in the United States
  • 53.4 – percentage of all paper products recycled in the United States
  • 32.5 – percentage of total waste that is recycled in the United States
  • 100 – approximate percentage of increase in total recycling in the United States during the past decade
  • 8,660 – number of curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2006
  • 8,875 – number of curbside recycling programs in the United States in 2003
  • 95 – percentage of energy saved by recycling an aluminum can, compared with manufacturing a new one
  • 4.6 – pounds of trash per person per day in the United States (most in the world)
  • 1.5 – pounds of recycled materials per person per day in the United States

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 15, 2012 at 12:15 am

One Response

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  1. Humble narrator? Why so humble?


    November 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm

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