Back in the day, I sat on my recycling boxes while I weeded in the garden. I had two of them placed strategically in the garden so I could rest my laurels while I battled my nemesis the morning-glory. (I do not miss that morning-glory) I wasn’t against recycling. I think I just didn’t have the energy to think about it.. working full-time with three young kids.. I plead laziness more than ignorance.
At the time, I worked in a corporate travel agency in the middle of nowhere behind the airport. We used to explain to our clients that we weren’t at the end of the earth but we could see it from our window. There was a woman in my office who was a recycling nazi… She would pull my yogurt container out of the garbage one second after I threw it in, rinse it and take it home to recycle. She began a paper recycling program in the office. We produced an enormous amount of paper garbage and agreed to dutifully put our waste in the blue boxes she placed beside our desks. We agreed, partly I think, to shut her up. We found out the ton of paper we had recycled in our first year had been thrown into the dumpster at the back of the hanger by the cleaning staff. No one had asked them if there was any mechanism for them to recycle out there in nowhere land. They apparently weren’t keen on hauling it to their blue boxes at home.
I mention all this because if that woman could have seen me today, it would have made her tear up…
We went to the recycling depot in town to pick up our winter recycling proceeds for the Island Community Association…$214.05. I know! To those of you who used to work with me… I recycle now. Not only have I been separating my plastics and aluminum for years with my family but I now volunteer to recycle for others!!!!! I can hear her voice and see your jaws drop.
You see the women on this island are incredibly talented. Every year they contribute their time and talent to raise money for the island community association.. They knit squares for an afghan or sew shapes for a quilt which they raffle … Their projects have been beautiful and they have raised a bunch of money for their community.
I live in this community now and not only do I not have any talent but I have no small motor skills in my fingers, limited use of my wrists and my right arm doesn’t work.. I would be of no use to them…. but I want to contribute.. so last summer I got to thinking. (I do a lot of thinking to justify all the sitting I do, while in the garden..)
When we came to Papas on vacation , it was always such an unpleasant chore to cart our bags of cans and bottles off at the end of the trip. ( we tend to consume a lot of “drink” when we vacation)
We would take the returnables off the island then into our car and onto the ferry back home. We would then donate them to whatever sports team was fundraising at the moment …… So, I got to thinking.. perhaps other part-time islanders find it a pain to return their bottles… As full timers now, we could offer to do it for them and the money could go to the community association.. After collecting their returnables during the busy summer months we could recycle them slowly over the winter on our regular trips to town.. I could be guilt free about my lack of creative involvement in fundraising. All I have to do is collect garbage..
Our plan is to have bottle drop offs at the community hall on the Monday after the long weekends from April to September…. The first poster for 2013 goes up tomorrow for Easter Monday.
Twelve years after leaving my job that woman is quite happily out of my life.. Yet, today as I walked out of the recycling depot in town with my 214.05 cheque in hand, I was
reminded of her.