Tag Archives: recycle

Recycling In The Days of Old ©

Recycling for Earth Day with Malati Marlene Shinazy

recyclingWhen my oldest kids were in preschool and primary grades, many weekends were spent at the playground, going up and down slides – for hours.  They never missed a weekend.

They also never wanted to miss a periodic family ritual.  We lived in a part of the US that had just begun recycling.  Our recycling center consisted of four giant igloo-type structures placed dead center in a huge empty parking lot.  Two igloos said, “Glass.”  Two igloos said, “Newspapers.”

Going to the recycling center was an enormous undertaking.  We collected newspapers and glass bottles for weeks.  When we finally had sufficient quantity, we loaded all this stuff, two young kids and an infant into the station wagon.  We drove forever because our so-called recycling center was in the light industrial part of the closest Big City (not very close).

What was totally, 100% entertaining, however—and well worth all the effort it took to get there — was to watch my kids conduct the Recycling Ritual.  Those huge igloos were so tall, steps and a platform were built around them so that stalwart recyclers like our family could reach the 7” recycling hole at the top.

So, up my kids went, a glass bottle in each hand.  Then, poised oh so carefully over the 7” hole, they would take turns throwing a bottle, with all their might, into the igloo.  With the loudest, violent detonating blast of glass crashing onto glass, the bottles landed…  The kids would burst into peals of sustained laughter that were almost as loud as the recycling blasts!  It was contagious; even the baby would break into screaming laughter.

  • Bottle In!
  • Crash!
  • Explosion!
  • Three Children Scream With Delight!
  • Second Bottle In!
  • Crash!
  • Explosion!
  • Three Children Scream Even Louder With Delight!

And so it went, for clearly thirty minutes, while their dad and I struggled to stuff weeks’ worth of thick newspapers into itty-bitty igloo holes.

I have to admit, this was indeed an odd pastime for a young family that tried to eschew violence (with obvious varied degrees of success).

Recycling = Violent Explosions + Fun and Laughter

recyclingToday, even in the smallest hamlets, recycling has become quite civilized.  It is now pedestrian – and – thought-free.  Children interface with recycling by spending their weekends going up and down slides in playgrounds made of recycled flip-flops.  We fill up city-issued recycling containers, roll them to the curb and voila, away go the “office paper, newspapers, cardboard, phone books, magazines, aluminum & tin cans, glass & plastic containers (except polystyrene).”

Yes, gone are the days of schlepping station wagons full of a pack-rat’s bounty of newspapers and bottles to remote places to hear young children take primal pleasure in aggressive, and LOUD, planet-saving….  What’s totally perfect, however, is:

This recycling story is now on a Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe and gets to be recycled – forever.

photos by malati marlene shinazy and shinazy

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Waste Not, Want Not ©

Malati Marlene Shinazy on Waste

wasteEven as I wrote the title to this story, Waste Not, Want Not, I wasn’t sure what it meant.  It was one of those wise sayings my mother’s generation used in an attempt to control my behavior… I think she meant, “If I eat all of my food (waste not), I’ll never go hungry (want not).”   Sounds good on the surface, but the logic is off.  I digest every morsel I eat; it becomes waste; and then I want more.

In a previous story, Recycling in the Days of Old ©  I wrote about the delight my children took throwing and crashing glass bottles into recycling igloos in the days before curb-side recycling.

These days, we can recycle nearly everything we use.  We just throw the item into the appropriate colored canister if we live in a municipality that has pre-sorted waste.  Or, we throw every darn thing that might be recyclable into a single canister.  The separating of paper from newsprint and glass from plastic occurs somewhere else, by some magic patented separator.

Despite wasting even less than I did before, I still want more, of something else of course, because I am a member of the Tribe of Wanters.

But wait. I may have found a solution for my shame for being a Wanter.  It’s all about balance: Want Less and Waste Less.

I want chocolate, all the time:

  • I want a chocolate mocha for breakfast.
  • I want chocolate fudge after lunch.
  • I want chocolate chip cookies and milk before I go to sleep.

The chocolate itself never goes to waste; it just makes me fat.  If I want to eat a lot then I’d better want to exercise a lot, too – again, balance.  Working out at the gym and yoga recycles the chocolate from my waistline into the great unknown.

But the wrapping?  Mostly, that’s just considered trash.  Although my recycling bin is filled with newspapers and office paper, my trash bin is filled with wrappers that covered some kind of chocolate.

The curbside recycling company wants me to turn my wants into waste.  But my new balanced solution has found an operational component: Terracycle.com.  Terracyclea company started by a couple of smart college kids, will take those wrappers of wants and turn them into something useful I also want, like park benches.

So I’ve joined 30 million other people who are now recycling all kinds of waste from what we want.  We just print a mailing label and Terrracycle pays for shipping the box of empty wrappers.

I’m a member of these Recycling Brigades:

  • Candy Wrapper Brigade
  • Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade
  • Coffee Bag Brigade

There are a total of 48 Brigades at this writing, including a Paired Shoe Brigade and a Flip-Flop Brigade, for footwear Wanters.

This form of “Waste Not, Want Not” may be unfamiliar to my mother, but 2,421,760,561 items of non-trash converted into $4,457,039 of money for charity would certainly be a program she would want.

photo from www.terracycle.com 

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