Where there’s waste, there’s opportunity

I wanted to comment on Karen Hardison’s letter in the Dec. 21 Xpress, “Asheville City Schools Need to Smarten Up on Waste.” I am reminded of a bumper sticker: “critical thinking … the other national deficit.” Our children will tend to emulate adults in thinking and action unless something breaks the thought/action cycle currently in place. Karen stepped up, and so will I.

It’s probably just a whole lot easier to use the foam trays. I suspect it’s not the best action we could take. There are costs involved, both monetary and environmental, with foam trays. I’d also like to point out that there are costs involved, both monetary and environmental, with using reusable resin trays, dishwashers, water and chemicals. This will most likely require additional staffing as well. Is creating a few new jobs a bad thing? Not necessarily, at least on the surface. But, do we truly know what is best? Are there other methods that might be even better?

Why not teach critical thinking? Why not have a team of students evaluate each obvious option and make their own decision on their findings? Knowing how to do a cost/benefit analysis could be a great learning tool. Thinking and studying about life-cycle analysis and the true economic benefit of job creation is something that will be in great demand as our society heads down the road on which we’re traveling. Reacting to problems we have created is far less desirable than learning how to not create them in the first place. Perhaps the students will even find some answers that weren’t so obvious. I think there’s an awesome opportunity here. The students can handle this.

Dear students, there is an excellent article in the same Mountain Xpress entitled “Dear Curbie.” This article provides some answers about our obvious actions. We are making progress. A round of applause for Curbie, as single-stream recycling is on the horizon. Could we recycle those foam trays? Probably. Ask the question, answer the question, question the answer. Repeat. What will they be made into if we recycle them? Is this recycling or down-cycling?

— Todd Lee

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