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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Recycling has no age limit

Imagine driving to the recycling center and seeing a flurry of activity. Not just one or two cars in the parking lot but five or ten or more. Now, picture the folks who are carrying plastics, glass and metal cans to the various bins. What do you see? If you are as lucky as we were on a recent visit, you see people as young as 8 and as old as 85 all practicing environmental stewardship.

A young father was there with his little boy. As they took a container from their vehicle to a bin, the dad explained to his child what they were doing and why. He instructed his son on how the items were separated and how the raw materials would be made into new things for their family’s eventual re-use.

Shortly after they left, an elderly lady arrived alone. She pulled her car up to the plastics container, opened her trunk to remove some plastic bottles. We learned that she has been recycling for 32 years and is very proud of what she does. The woman told us her community was beginning a recycling route and, for a monthly fee she could participate. She said, “Why pay a fee for something I already have done for so long? Why pay someone else for this privilege when I can take a few minutes each week and do something I feel good about?” We couldn’t agree with her more.

On this day we observed these people as well as many others from the young to middle-aged and senior citizens all sharing in the same practice. A practice that teaches lessons about recycling to the young, helps preserve our resources, and just plain makes us all feel good. Now – imagine this happens every day, in every city. How good would that be?

By Nancy Weikle
Greener Magazine

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