Monday, March 08, 2010

Women's Work

Gender Across Borders

I've been thinking a lot about my family's 96 gallon recycling totter - in some towns they are affectionately called "Big Blue". Our town, in an effort to cut down on how much trash homes produce, gave each household one large totter and only trash in that totter will be collected. It forces families to do a better job sorting their "true" trash from items that can be recycled.

So we fill up our 96 gallon totter for the biweekly pick up with cans, plastic items and others that can be recycled. And a large collection truck comes by and dumps them all together with other recyclables. And off they go to a plant to be sorted.

But who does the sorting? What is the safety standards of these plants? While we feel good about decreasing our overall trash, who is compromising her or his safety to sort our recyclables?

So on this International Women's Day, I'm inspired by the nameless women (and men) who do the work to make our planet green - sort our recyclables, weatherize our homes, create new items out of "trash" (e.g. a purse from an old rice bag).

Because they are not being thanked for cleaning up, or sorting through, our mess.