This morning I was half watching a kids television programme with my young daughter and it was kind of teaching recycling. I think the programme was about ten to fifteen years old. They showed the characters collecting and sorting waste into coloured bins for paper, metal and glass and then taking them to a local recycling centre (not sure if this was a dedicated trip or not!!).
That got me thinking, my seven year old, doesn’t know any different and she asked me why they were taking the bins to this place. We in most parts of the UK have curb-side recycling, which you can put all the recyclable material in a single “wheelie bin” and they collect every second week. I told her that a few years ago, people didn’t come to collect recycling and everything was buried in big holes.
What really struck me was in the space of a decade our children in the main, now find it completely normal to make a conceous descision to seperate their waste.
When I was that sort of age, the only energy saving/eco things we did, was to stick little stickers on light switches say “turn me off”. But that never caught on and we a simple too lazy and rely on PIRs to do the job for us.
So hopefully if this trend of recycling continues and is passed on to future generations, then I suppose it could be fifty years before it is truly common-place.
Is recycling an excuse to use more?
It’s all well and good pushing up recycling rates and patting ourselves on the back about how great we are. But does it actually makes us miss the starting point? Which is of course, reduction in what we use.
There can be no excuses for not recycling, but also, to minimise what we use and how often we use something. What does recycling mean to you or your children? Does it mean filling a different coloured bin with plastic, paper, glass and metal? Or does it mean, not using disposal items and re-using them? I think the point is, does it actually matter? After all, as long as we reduce what we use and recycle when something has reached the end of its practical life, then this will go a long way. But certainly in the school I have been involved with, recycling and recycling alone is the main push.