24 November 2008

3. Recycling

This subject, like several others in my list, is somewhat obsolete in my life right now. But I may as well write about it, because it is something I thought about a lot over the past year or so. In California, they give you money for recycling. The way the system is supposed to work is that they charge you an extra five cents when you buy a bottle or can (water, soda, &c.) (or ten cents, for larger containers), and then reimburse you this money when you turn the bottle or can in for recycling. However, most people do not bother to turn in their recyclables. The thought process seems to be something like, "oh, it is only five cents. it does not matter that much." But, you see, five times twenty is one hundred (one dollar). And there is a lot you can buy with a dollar. And if you do not spend that dollar, but save it, and get more dollars, you can buy bigger things. Like gas. Or rent. Or a trip to Russia.

I started collecting recycling from the garbage cans around campus last October, in an effort to make money to help me go on the Russia trip. It did not fully pay for it by any means, but I ended up getting about two hundred dollars from it. That is a lot of money, pulled out of garbage cans a nickel at a time. I wish I had kept better track of how much I collected. I continued my collections this summer, to off-set the price of gas, and to be able to buy food, and so forth. Usually I would only collect from the library. I know where every garbage can is in that building. I know what route to take to maximize the efficiency of my time. I kept my receipts for a bit in October, once I decided to write about this. Between the third and the thirteenth, I collected $42.47. (They go by weight, now, rather than exact count, which is why the number is not divisible by five.) That is a little over four dollars a night, from the library alone. My rounds took me about half an hour, so I was making about minimum wage for this. Not too shabby.

I got quite a few weird looks from people, especially when I started. After a while people got used to my coming around in the evening. A few people would even save their bottles out on their table for me, instead of throwing them in the trash cans. Those people made me happy. Some people laughed at me when they thought I could not see/hear (from within the study rooms). Those people made me sad and insecure - but not enough to give up. Once I encountered two people in a room (yes, I was shameless enough to collect from the study rooms while people were in them. most were very kind. no one ever complained, even if they thought I was strange.) who were very excited about what I was doing. The girl exclaimed, "Oh! I am so happy you are doing that! I was looking at the cans in the trash and thinking how sad it was that no one was doing anything about it, and then here you came!" And then the boy made up a song about how happy they were. It pretty much made my night.

Fun times, overall.

Blessings on your travels,

1 comment:

Calvin said...

Hehehehe! Yes, doing stuff like that gives many a strange look. :D