Funeral for my recycling today.
Today was my normal trash day, and I purposefully added my recycling to the normal trash can.
I wanted to see if I was going to need to buy a second container (turns out I will), and I also wanted to feel how it was going to feel without recycling.
I had so many feelings.
Overwhelming sadness and guilt — like I was betraying the earth.
Recycling was always kind of like a moral obligation to me, kind of sacred.
Something that made me proud of myself, even if I failed in so many other ways.
As I transferred the recyclables from my bin to the trash, I had flashbacks of the times I had spoken to schoolchildren about recycling, taken them coloring books, told them how the earth smiled every time they recycled.
I wondered what Deltona children would think when Earth Day comes around and someone speaks about recycling. After all, Deltona is the only place right now that has stopped.
We have told our Deltona children it was all a lie. The recyclables were going to the landfill, anyway.
I wonder if they will be confused.
I remembered when Deltona became a city and we worked so hard to clean out illegal dumpsites, pick up litter, plant azaleas, educate the community on recycling and adopt streets.
I felt left out, for us Deltona people — not just me, but all of us — because other communities are still desperately searching for solutions. I wondered why our elected officials took us so quietly into that dark night — all for $21.
And I felt embarrassed.
One of my very socially conscious friends from a nearby city said to me, “What the hell is wrong with y’all?
“The city is in the liquor business ...
“Shuts down recycling ...
“And your manager lies about where she lives and votes in the wrong district ...
“90,000 people and y’all are just going to throw all your s*** in the landfill ... and pretty soon, we’ll all have to create a new landfill.”
I had no comeback.
I poured a glass of wine and threw the bottle in the trash can.
Elvis is dead, and I’m not feeling too good myself.
— White started Deltona’s first recycling program. Still a resident of Deltona, she is a former executive director of the Chamber of Commerce of West Volusia and served as interim Deltona city manager during the city’s early years of incorporation. She is retired and volunteers with Deltona Strong, a nonprofit citizens coalition.