Every time you use an aerosol can, don’t you just think “Woohoo! Thanks Montreal Protocol!” Well you should…
The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty responsible for phasing out much of the ozone-depleting chemicals in aerosol cans (try saying chlorofluorocarbons three times fast). Many of us grew up hearing about the “hole in the ozone layer,” and it was easy to be a little confused; There’s a hole in the protective layer on the earth? Why? How? Huh? You can of course read more about the problem and the subsequent treaty on good old Wikipedia, but basically it’s a pretty amazing achievement and a phenomenal example of international cooperation. Of course it’s not perfect, but since coming into effect, ozone depleting chemicals in our atmosphere have either leveled off or decreased. Give it another 40 years or so, under the same regulations, and the ozone layer may be in full recovery mode.
And it all happened because people paid attention and took action.
What does this have to do with recycling? First off, there’s some good food for thought on our inter-connectivity. One person using hairspray with chemicals in it may not seem like a big deal but it adds up! Same goes for recycling- one person participates, then a neighborhood, a community, cities everywhere, and- eventually- hopefully- strong regulations on packaging and manufacturer responsibility are on their way (read Who Should Pay To Recycle). But we all have to wake up first and take responsibility too. Which brings us to recycling aerosol cans.