Blurred image of a plastic prescription bottle.

Welcome to a very special edition of my Eco-Insanity Log. It contains a rarity: an update to a prior post! I don’t think I’ve ever written an update before . . . I just don’t have that kind of attention span. Or memory. I can read something I wrote six months ago, and wonder, “what talented, gifted person wrote that?” Because I am rather fond of my own writing—after I get through the horrors of editing the crap out of it.

This reminds me of that esteemed writer Snoopy, of The Peanuts comic strip.* Snoopy is also a big fan of his own writing. How many times has he fallen off his dog house, laughing at some witticism he’s just typed? More times than I can count. Luckily, neither of has suffered permanent injury while fawning over our own wit.

But I digress. Again. It’s my super power.

The point is, and I pray that I can recall it, this update to my prior post, Remedy, represents an extraordinary exception to my usual ineptitude. For those readers as memory challenged as I am, the topic was my eco-angsting (surprise, surprise) over the accumulation of empty prescription bottles for which I’d found no good reuse or recycling options.

Then, spoiler alert, I discovered Matthew 25 Ministries, an international humanitarian aid organization that accepts clean pill bottles for reuse in developing countries. Problem solved and praise be to your favorite deity.

Two critical, follow-up points: First, the original date of this post is May 13, 2020. Second, those “white-hatted” lads hadn’t gone anywhere but continued to accumulate in my home for many more months. So much for my “divinely-inspired Purpose!”

I blame Covid. Everyone else is doing it, mom.

Then, motivation arrived, as it usually does, when someone else jolted me out of my inertia. A neighbor, Rosa, posted a question about recycling options for old prescription bottles. I messaged her, shared the Matthew 25 Ministries link, and explained about my own burgeoning pile—which may soon require a variance from the FAA’s Airspace Obstructions Standards. We decided to combine our collections and split the shipping costs.

All well and good until I started calculated said shipping costs. . . and I realized the true cost of my procrastination. Shipping rates have skyrocketed since that day of my divinely-inspired revelation. My half of the postage is now more than what I’d estimated for myself, all those months ago.

I took the box to the post office, to UPS, to FedEx, to Santa Claus, searching for that elusive Deal. Finding none, I carted the box home and stared at it, praying for another Divine inspiration. None came.

I had just about resigned myself to heaping on more eco guilt (and applying for that FAA variance) when Rosa messaged, asking about the shipment. I recalled all the hours we’d spent cleaning, bagging up and labeling those bottles. All of our good intentions. And the people they’d ultimately serve. I trudged back to the post office and handed over my credit card.

I basked in the eco-sanctimonious glow of Doing Something Good. Until my husband handed me another empty prescription bottle. “What should I do with this?” he asked. I bit back my reply, though I did offer a hand gesture that indicated his best option.

We do the best we can, in this linear, “take, make, waste” economy. Corporations freely put these materials out into the marketplace while eschewing all responsibility for the end game. How is this my fault?

How is this conscionable?

I’m thinking now that I’ll mail the next batch of bottles directly to the pharmacy that dispensed them, along with my detailed commentary on their environment-destroying practices. And I will exuberantly pay the postage for that package.

*One of my favorites is where Snoopy wrote: “Joe Ceremony is short. When he entered a room, everyone had to be warned not to stand on Ceremony.” If I wrote that, I’d fall off my chair, too!

P.S. I’m not alone is my worship of Snoopy The World Famous Writer. See this more thoughtful adultation of Snoopy’s writerly wisdom.

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  © Cheryl Leutjen