The quieter you become the more you can hear ~ Ram Dass

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waste not Want not

I read a news piece today about a book store that are closing some of their stores.  In fact, they closed the one at a mall near me not too long ago.  I used to buy books there sometimes.  Apparently, and this is something I didn't know, what ever books are unsold, the cover of the books would be torn off and the rest of the book would be thrown in a dumpster.  Sounds crazy, huh?  I guess it's too expensive to send the books back so they came up with this idea to save money. Even if they send them back to the publisher, they destroy them.  Supposedly, after a big uproar (which I never heard of) this store now says they will either recycle or donate them.  That's good if this comes to pass but from what I've read a lot of stores that also sell books do this as well.
After I read this, it reminded when I used to read the message boards (until they changed the format) on AOL.  I used to read about "dumpster diving", which again I never heard of.  People would go to different stores mostly at night because it is illegal and look in the dumpster's and take things out that were good.  It seemed weird to me but the more I read the more I realized how much different stores were throwing things away that were perfectly good.  Doesn't make sense.  Is it just too much trouble for stores to donate it or are they afraid of some kind of liability? 
One time, I had to take medication back to the pharmacy for my Mom because it was wrong.  We had just picked it up and probably came back less than a half hour with it.  I was flabbergasted when the pharmacist opened the bottle and threw out the pills and just gave me a bottle with the correct medication.  I remember after I had my chemo treatments I had a bunch of medicine left.  I hated to throw them out.  I asked if I could donate them to someone and the answer was no. How many times have you taken a medication and it didn't work out for you and you have a bunch left?   I can understand once its left the pharmacy's premises the medication can't be vouched for but it seems to me with the cost of medications there should be some way they could be donated and given to people that can't afford them. 
After thinking about this, it really makes to want to put more effort into cleaning my "eyesores" and disposing of the stuff in a good way. 


lagata said...

I have the same thoughts about unused pharmaceuticals. I had a lot of things left over and tried to find someone to take them but no one would. It is a sad thing.

Also, I find it odd that there isn't a repository to take old medications to, I am sensitive about flushing them into our water system - granted my few probably wouldn't hurt - but everyone's all together - another story.

Cathryn said...

My friends go dumpster diving all the time. That's how she mostly plants her garden every spring--the plants that are thrown away. She brings them home, soaks them in a tub of water overnight. If they spring back to life, they end up in her garden.

I find it distressing that bookstores would destroy books, rather than donate them or sell them at half price. But after working in the portrait business, that's also what happens to portraits that people didn't buy or never picked up--destroyed.

Pharmaceuticals is another story. Throwing them in the trash leads to poisoning our water supplies. Same with flushing them. I took mine to a free clinic and they used them. One time this woman's father had changed medication and couldn't use the old one anymore. It was the same thing I used but at $100 a bottle/month. She offered me her dad's supply and I took it--it was a 3-month supply! I was grateful for it.

I don't understand our thinking of throwing it out if it's usable or needed.