EPA: Recycling Eliminated More Than 50 Million Tons Of Guilt In '96

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Vol 31 Issue 09

Tom Bosley Named Secretary Of Naps

WASHINGTON, DC—Beloved veteran actor Tom Bosley, star of Happy Days and Father Dowling Mysteries, was appointed U.S. Secretary of Naps Tuesday. "I think the American people can be comfortable with Mr. Bosley's solid record on napping," President Clinton said. "He will serve our nation's napping interests well." Bosley's platform includes a 20-minute snooze at his desk during daylight hours, an occasional dozing-off toward the end of the day, and prolonged weekend lie-downs at home in the early evening hours, when, Bosley said, "I tend to get really sleepy."

Twentysomething Generation Turns 35

AUSTIN, TX—Advertising agencies across the nation reacted with shock Monday, when the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that the mean age of the "twentysomething generation" is now 35. According to the report, the twentysomethings are no longer 20- to 29-year-olds who wear ripped flannel shirts and "hang out" on college campuses. Most are now married and have full-time jobs. Todd Leaks, an Austin-area twentysomething, recently turned 36. "I was 28 when that book Generation X came out," he said. "Man, that was a while ago already." Labels previously ascribed to the twentysomethings, such as "Generation X" and "slackers," have now been transferred to those Americans born between 1968 and 1977, who have also adopted the clothing styles and musical tastes of the twentysomethings.

Visa Fires Bob Dole

NEW YORK—Credit-card giant Visa announced Tuesday that Bob Dole has been dropped from its current "No ID" advertising campaign. "The American people were just not responding to Bob Dole," Visa director of corporate communications Ron Landau said. "People found him to be depressing." When asked how he felt about being fired, Dole said, "I can say my line differently if you want. Tell me how I'm supposed to say my line." He then burst into tears.

Congress Approves $15 Billion MediCruelty

WASHINGTON, DC—With a rapidly aging populace in increasing need of medical care, Congress approved funding Monday for MediCruelty, a new system of health care which focuses on cruelty toward the elderly. "Care is very expensive," Sen. Al D'Amato (R-NY) said. "It will be much more cost-effective in the long run to be cruel to the elderly." The system will offer seniors Emergency Neglect Service, a 24-hour toll-free number that will connect to nowhere. Clearwater, FL, resident Gladys Rankin, 72, is already among the first recipients of MediCruelty. A rare bone disease has rendered her immobile, and treatments for her condition are very expensive. Under Medi-Cruelty, she was left outside her senior center near a back-alley dumpster Tuesday. "My bones hurt," Rankin said.

Firewood, Bread Top New Russian Agenda

MOSCOW—Russian leaders Monday unveiled their new agenda for the next several years: the procurement of firewood and bread. "Our homes are very cold," Kremlin official Igor Kerensky said. "Many of us have not eaten for days." The new agenda replaces a previous one, which involved the development of a technologically advanced, fully modernized nation-state capable of leading Europe into the 21st century. If the firewood plan is successful, within five years Russian leaders hope to shift their focus to obtaining running water and soap. "Do you have food?" Kerensky added. "I am very hungry."

Protecting The Police

In the wake of an ever-growing number of shootings of police officers, including last week's L.A. bank-robbery shootout, debate is raging over how to better protect our nation's law enforcement officials. What do you think?

Rules Grammar Change

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Grammar Guild Monday announced that no more will traditional grammar rules English follow. Instead there will a new form of organizing sentences be.
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EPA: Recycling Eliminated More Than 50 Million Tons Of Guilt In '96

WASHINGTON, DC—According to an Environmental Protection Agency report released Monday, nationwide recycling efforts eliminated more than 50 million tons of guilt in 1996. The figure represents the greatest reduction in consumption-related guilt among the American populace in over a decade.

"Thanks to community-based recycling programs across America, landfill waste was reduced by some 70,000 pounds—or .00004 percent—last year," EPA administrator Carol Browner said. "But even more important, Americans themselves experienced a whopping 47 percent drop in guilt."

Added Browner: "Just ask anyone who's ever thrown a Snapple bottle into a special glass-only receptacle during their lunch break and felt good about it the rest of the day—recycling works."

As recently as 1990, the U.S. consumed 88 percent of the world's resources and felt 87 percent of its guilt. But by 1995, even though the nation's share of the world's consumption actually rose to 90 percent, through the institution of mandatory recycling programs, America's share of global guilt plummeted to 41 percent.

"I used to feel terrible when I threw out perfectly good things, like a working toaster or TV," said Francine Dahl of Lawrence, KS. "But now that I recycle a little bit, I could throw out a whole couch and not feel guilty at all."

According to leading environmental experts, recycling is not the only thing Americans are doing to assuage their guilt.

"People are doing lots of things to make themselves feel better about their fervent participation in our mass consumer culture," said University of Texas environmental studies professor Arthur Boykin. "They're supporting companies whose products have pictures of globes on them. They're buying greeting cards printed on grayish, non-glossy paper that appears to be recycled. They're wearing T-shirts with pictures of endangered species on them. They're eating at rainforest-themed restaurants. The list goes on and on."

Others are taking an even more active role. "We've printed and distributed over four million pamphlets to raise awareness about the importance of recycling," said Lori Herbst, founder of San Francisco's RecycleUSA! "I can't believe how successful the pamphlets have been. The city's drains are literally clogged with them."

According to EPA spokesperson Patrick Toomer, while most Americans are "doing a tremendous job recycling," there remain many ways citizens can reduce their guilt even further.

According to the EPA, curbside recycling programs have proven extremely effective in reducing Americans' guilt over their role as a part of the most materialistic culture in human history.

"A ceramic, reusable mug is the most environmentally sound choice for coffee drinkers," Toomer said. "But a mug only makes you feel good once—at that moment when you first buy it. On the other hand, using a new disposable cup made from recycled materials every single day will make you feel like you're doing your part to help the environment every single day."

"You might also want to think about increasing your use of substances that are devastating to the environment, such as freon, plutonium and battery acid," Toomer continued. "That way, you can enjoy an enormous feeling of social responsibility when you dispose of them properly in special, brightly colored containment units that say 'Eco-Safe' on them."

Of course, with worldwide consumption of non-renewable resources at an all-time high, the world will still undergo total environmental collapse by 2065. "But with careful planning," Toomer said, "guilt levels should remain low right up until then, long after the baby boomers are dead."

America's citizens are not the only ones working to reduce waste: Corporate America is also doing its part. "People were concerned about the paper boxes we serve our burgers in, especially since most people throw them away right in the store within two minutes of use," McDonald's public relations director Geoff Hanley said. "But now that we print up pamphlets explaining our rainforest policy, people feel much better."

Such eco-sensitive thinking is not only good for the conscience; it's good for business.

"Five years ago, my toilet-tissue products were suffering losses in the millions," said Frank Costello, CEO of PulpCo, Inc. "But ever since we put a tree on our package and a banner reading, 'Made From At Least Five Percent Recycled Post-Consumer Waste,' our sales have gone through the roof. We can barely cut down trees fast enough to meet the demand. I guess the bottom line is, for me, recycling is all about green."

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