Living the life I do recycling is second nature to me. In fact it is one of the things that I have done all my life. I remember standing on tip toes pushing coloured glass into the appropriate boxes at the bottle bank and the satisfying sound when I’d thrown it hard enough to make it smash inside. ..although you could never be sure you’d smashed your glass or just lots of glass that was already there.
Fast forward a few decades and bottle banks are few and far between because recycling has become more mainstream and in a desperate attempt to save money and their reliance on land fill sites, councils now do curb side recycling.
So everyone recycles right? Everyone is doing their little bit? Because it’s made so easy for us. Just separate your rubbish at source, give it a rinse and let them take it away for you. What could be easier?
And then I discovered, completely by accident, that this is not the case.
Often at weekends my home is filled with gangly teenage lads, awkward in their bodies, comfortable with the profanity streaming from their mouths whilst blowing up stuff and shooting each other in some virtual reality. Along side this is the junk they choose to ingest, the food on tap too “hippy” for the visiting tribe.
And with the junk comes packaging. Mostly all recyclable packaging. Cans and plastic wrap and bottles. All of which is taken from the curb side in Devon.
So if recycling is second nature to these kids that have practically grown up with curb side recycling, why do I find, after the controllers have been put down and peace has been called, my bin full of rubbish that’s not really rubbish? Why do these kids when asked why they put it in the bin say but it’s rubbish? And if the majority of the teenage lads can’t be arsed, or are ignorant to why they should be recycling, and obviously don’t at home, what chance do we have of ever changing the mindset?
I have spoken, at length, with friends about this, that assure me that the lads I see are not the norm, that the generation of my children do care. But I am not so convinced.
How much more education do they need about how the resources on this planet are finite? The primary school these kids in question went is supposed to be a “green” school..They have light monitors, rubbish monitors and awards for the greenest class of the week. But what is the point of all this if they don’t equate it to their lives at home? If it’s not backed up by parents and the simplest things being actively encouraged at home?
I’ve often wondered why people find the way I live my life so “out there”and I’ve realised that it is no wonder we are considered weird when it would appear that even recycling, which is the most normal thing in the world to me, and something I thought everybody did, is still not the norm.
So what do councils do to encourage recycling? They stick yellow labels on black bags that have anything other than land fill waste and refuse to take it. And what happens then? Recycling boxes get requested and people happily recycle ? You’d think so….but in the case that is on my mind, what actually happens is we are subjected to the acrid smell of burning rubbish…..there’s nothing quite like the whiff of nappies being cremated, whilst you’re outside enjoying the spring sunshine!!!
And we are left despairing of the future of our planet. The hope that the next generation would be better, do better, put on the top of the nappy bonfire!