We live in a disposable society. It’s easier to throw things out than to fix them. We even give it a name – we call it recycling.
I hate recycling. It’s Thursday nights for us and they always seem to come at the wrong time. Too late, too cold, too hot or just too tired to drag it all out from under the sink, through the garage and out into the back alley. Inevitably I drop a box or a bag along the way or worse the compost spills and I’ve got a mix of maggot infused stench with last night’s dinner and a few rotten tomatoes on the concrete floor. Yummy.
I’ve always found it to be such a pain in the arse. Okay so maybe I don’t hate it, but I sure don’t enjoy it. Somebody else is making money off of my labour. How have “they” managed to dupe all of us into this mass environmental madness of weekly garbage collection? Save the world? What about the future “they” say? I get annoyed for a bit about how we are all gleefully rescuing the environment and complain out loud to anyone that will listen and then I still recycle either way. That’s how I’ve dealt with my self-righteous angst about the whole triple R approach for the time being. Complain and no one usually listens. Good way to blow off some steam though.
My son has the makings of a good social entrepreneur. He may even be showing signs of innerpreneurship. Spencer often catches me thoughtlessly throwing things away that he feels should be recycled. You see he was a part of a group called eco kids. It’s an environmental committee at his public school and apparently they wield some power. He’s an eco captain. Not bad for a six year old. “What’s that”, he’ll say as I open the door to the garbage pail under the sink. The expression on his face directs me to the appropriate recycle bin next to the environmentally friendly dish washing liquid. Savvy behavior for an elementary school kid. Makes me think good thoughts about the future and what’s next. There is hope. I find recycling to be a bit of a miserable time consuming chore. Spencer has already made it a part of his life. Change, education and awareness are intimately connected.
In the spirit of holism and a healthier future I want to support my son. So not only am I a bit of a cheeky environmental crusader, but I also now go for walks every night. I’ve come to know a woman only through her silhouette and the kind of car she drives. She’s clearly an industrious sort. I see her each week on my late Thursday night jaunts. I walk about 1.6 km and around several blocks. I will see her three or four times each night sifting through recycle bins looking for aluminum cans, metal and refundable bottles. She fills her trunk, drives away and I would imagine visits several areas in various neighborhoods throughout the week. It’s smart, wise and messy work. And my guess is she needs the money. It’s a good reminder for me of how fortunate many of us are. She’s creating a business and doing her best to make things work for her and no doubt her family. I respect her commitment and drive in a huge way. She has a better understanding of recycling than I do. I see a liability with regard to my time. The woman creating the silhouette in our back alley sees an opportunity.