I love recycling. My earliest memories are from 4th and 5th grade when our school was raising money by collecting aluminum cans to sell for cash. Forgotten what we were raising money for but I would spend hours walking along roads picking up cans to put into a huge gunny sack. When it came time to bring them in I had a gunny sack and a half. Didn’t amount to but a few dollars but I liked it. It was the beginnings of a fleshless love of recycling, reusing, remaking and remixing.
Somewhere back in my storage shed there is an old scrap book that I started when I was 11 years old. It only has a few filled pages. One page has a coffee table made of soft drinks cans, stacked two or three high and two deep square. On top is perched a beveled glass top so you can see the cans beneath. Another has a see through shower curtain with pieces of scrap vinyl made into a scene of a tree and hills along the bottom.
I liked them because they were creative ideas for the time on recycling trash. Seem a bit simpleton these days but for an 11yo in the early seventies, they were awesome. Trash turned to useful treasures. I didn’t conceptualize the idea of saving the earth etc at the time, they were just things I wanted to think of and create.
We were gut poor at the time and having things meant that we had to be creative. I can honestly say that if there was a time in my life where my love of recycling sprouted, that was the time. It didn’t dissipate either. Instead it grew and my imagination grew with it.
This morning we were talking and throwing around ideas, as we normally do on our days off. I have often thought of what a waste it is when they tear down a house or old barn and just haul it all to the dump or burn it in a large bonfire. Beams and boards that could be used to build sheds or create tables or boxes, weathered, worn and with history.
We discussed to ins and outs of starting a reclamation business. The husband is the better of us at organizing and I have the imagination to see the possibilities of what something can morph into. I told him I would find the inventory and he could organize it.
He could use the wood if he liked to build things and sell on what he wanted. Going into places like Wickes(in the UK) where it can be a real chore to find a straight 2×4 or just about any piece of straight length of wood. Unless it is rotted from worm or wet why can’t wood be reused.
It is not just the wood that can be reused but the toilets, sinks, old cast iron baths. I saw a lovely idea yesterday as we were whizzing to market of three urinals on the outside wall of a garage, planted like hanging baskets. Excellent!!!
Recycling doesn’t mean using something again as it was originally designed. Recycling is making use of something in anyway you want to keep it from being thrown into a landfill. I would plan to make this a reclamation business and not a junk shop but I am not adverse to a junk yard so to speak. Lovely old floor boards stacked and ready to provide another 80 years of support to a family home has that feel-good aura about it.
Nothing scream creativity to me like recycling. Recycling can be applied to so many areas of our lives. How many of us have in an effort to save money learned to take our left overs from last nights dinner and recycle them into a creative new dish.
Using old CDs to scare the birds from your vegetable garden is recycling. Taking water you used to wash dishes and watering the garden is recycling. Making bread that has gone dry and stale (not molding) and making bread pudding is recycling. You didn’t throw it away. You used it as far as you could.
The majority of the human population did not learn to be so wasteful until the industrial revolution and the machine gave us, time, jobs and extra money in various degrees to afford to be wasteful. But just because I have been given the money and time to be wasteful does not in my eyes give me the right.
I do not have to be wholly self-sufficient to feel I am doing a little something to save my world from being buried in landfill after landfill but it makes me feel good when I can do what I can and guilty when I don’t do what I know I am able to.
So perhaps it is time to do a bit of investigating. I have to admit the idea would be to make a little money or I would have to maintain a paycheck job but there is room to consider how to avoid being greedy. Being rich is alluring but I doubt I would ever be anything but rich in the pleasure of doing what I love and sharing it with the world. Not a bad way to be rich, if you ask me.