This story was written by Malati Marlene Shinazy
When my oldest kids were in preschool and primary grades, many weekends were spent at the playground, going up and down slides -- for hours. Then never missed a weekend.
They also never wanted to miss a periodic family ritual. We lived in a part of the US that had just begun recycling. Our recycling center consisted of four giant igloo-type structures placed dead center in a huge empty parking lot. Two igloos said, “Glass.” Two igloos said, “Newspapers.”
Going to the recycling center was an enormous undertaking. We collected newspapers and glass bottles for weeks. When we finally had sufficient quantity, we loaded all this stuff, two young kids and an infant into the station wagon. We drove forever because our so-called recycling center was in the light industrial part of the closest Big City (not very close).
What was totally, 100% entertaining, however—and well worth all the effort it took to get there — was to watch my kids conduct the Recycling Ritual. Those huge igloos were so tall, steps and a platform were built around them so that stalwart recyclers like our family could reach the 7” recycling hole at the top.
So, up my kids went, a glass bottle in each hand. Then, poised oh so carefully over the 7” hole, they would take turns throwing a bottle, with all their might, into the igloo. With the loudest, violent detonating blast of glass crashing onto glass, the bottles landed… The kids would burst into peals of sustained laughter that were almost as loud as the recycling blasts! It was contagious; even the baby would break into screaming laughter.
· Bottle In!
· Three Children Scream With Delight!
· Second Bottle In!
· Three Children Scream Even Louder With Delight!
And so it went, for clearly thirty minutes, while their dad and I struggled to stuff weeks’ worth of thick newspapers into itty-bitty igloo holes.
I have to admit, this was indeed an odd pastime for a young family that tried to eschew violence (with obvious varied degrees of success).
Recycling = Violent Explosions + Fun and Laughter
Today, even in the smallest hamlets, recycling has become quite civilized. It is now pedestrian – and - thought-free. Children interface with recycling by spending their weekends going up and down slides in playgrounds made of recycled flip-flops. We fill up city-issued recycling containers, roll them to the curb and voila, away go the “office paper, newspapers, cardboard, phone books, magazines, aluminum & tin cans, glass & plastic containers (except polystyrene).”
Yes, gone are the days of schlepping station wagons full of a pack-rat’s bounty of newspapers and bottles to remote places to hear young children take primal pleasure in aggressive, and LOUD, planet-saving…. What’s totally perfect, however, is:
This recycling story is now on Bitchin’ Ol’ Boomer Babe and gets to be recycled - forever.
photo by Malati Marlene Shinazy