1 Green Thing: Vacationing and ‘being green’

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

We have been driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dumbstruck by the 300-plus miles of incredible (and thankfully protected) beauty, it was easy to forget about how the trash might be handled. When finally noticed, you have to be amazed by the simplicity. The plain brown cans are marked “waste,” “plastic” and “aluminum.” At every overlook, picnic area and swingout in the road across those hundreds of miles, we found the same thing.

And in other locations, too — historical sites, state parks, historical homes and others already forgotten — it seems North Carolina has the hang of it.

Visiting with friends in Asheville, we discovered their “residential commitment.” Bottles and cans go into the recycling barrel, but a stack of broken-down cardboard boxes were delivered to a specific facility.

We were on our way again and stopped in Blowing Rock to enjoy the little city named the prettiest in the state where we discovered our motel was “going green.” The bathroom had a sign asking if we would consider reusing the towels (of course, we did) and it was easy to figure out how the little blue wastebasket with the word “recycling” was to be used.

What a delightful vacation experience. Until today, that is. At the restaurant just a couple blocks from the “green” motel, the experience changed for a moment when the server asked us if we would like go cups. We said yes, and then reluctantly carried our iced teas away with us in Styrofoam.

You cannot win them all. We learned it again tonight. We are in South Carolina … in a “not green” motel. I think there ought to be a “code” on the signage.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at JanHerbert@RockfordParkdistrict.org.

From the July 20-26, 2011 issue

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