Elk Valley Times

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Recycling brings new life, new uses

Posted on Monday, July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm


keep fayetteville/lincoln county beautiful

I suppose I appeared dead to everyone that saw me. No movement, no apparent life left in me; so the obvious conclusion was that I was dead – discarded like yesterday’s trash. No use to anyone; hauled away and dumped in a hole, never to see the light of day again.

I was never to be wanted by anyone, never to be held or valued or bring pleasure to a single person again. In the hole, I sensed the presence of others. What was happening here? Why had we all been discarded? All of us had life left in us. Who on Earth would put anything in the ground that still had life in it? What a waste!

Sure, I’m just a plastic soda bottle, but if I had been recycled, I could have become something useful again, like another bottle, or playful like a toy truck or beautiful like a flowerpot. And what about the cardboard box lying beside me? He could have been a gift box or shoebox or even insulation in your home. And the soup can on the other side, well, he could have been another can or part of an airplane or your next car. And how sad the aluminum can is. He could have been another can, a part of a cattle trailer or almost anything.

But the paper seems saddest of all. He was once a living tree, providing shade and shelter, cleaning the air of carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. This was his first job since he was cut down. He was your local newspaper – he told you who got married, had a baby or where to find a good used car. He gave you a lot of pleasure as you read the game scores, but then you tossed him in the trash to go to this landfill.

Sure, there is “real” trash here. There’s a broken bowl, lots of dirty diapers, tons of used tissues, greasy pizza boxes, etc. But there are so many of us here that still have life left in us. All of the paper, plastic bottles, cans and cardboard could have lived on. We could have been recycled hundreds of times and lasted a hundred years of being service to someone. Oh, we will still be here in this hole a hundred years from now, but we could still serve a purpose. We will occupy space here and force someone to build a new landfill somewhere else. Maybe that will be next door to you.

So, next time you empty a bottle, can, box or finish a newspaper, think about what you should do with it. Send it to the landfill or pull it back into service by recycling. Don’t bury anything that still has life left in it. Save energy, natural resources, our environment and landfill space – recycle.

If the bottle could think and talk, what would it want to be? Maybe a fleece jacket to be around someone, keeping them warm, a piece of carpet in a home where laughter and love exist; or maybe a park bench where a young couple sits and dreams of the future. So many items thrown away, buried in a landfill, could be awaiting a second life. Recycle.