Recycle… for your own good

It wasn’t for any specific reason that I was feeling good on the night of January 27. I had – by circumstance – been ousted from my residence for the evening, and so (giving my roommate time) I wrote this.

My night started when I dropped my backpack off at my room, and left in such a rushed daze that the only things I managed to grab were an orange from the fridge and a dollar I already had in my pocket.

Walking down Stanford Drive, I noticed four square-shaped plastic bags in front of the Toppel building, and with all the time in the world having been neatly wrapped up and handed to me, I decided to spend a few extra minutes checking out the contents of the bag. It turned out that they were filled with all types of cardboard boxes. This was hilariously convenient, because for two weeks now I have lived with no physical trash can (as my roommate and I have had to throw them away) in my room, only for me to find four whole garbage bags full of disposable trashcans!

I took another few minutes to enjoy my orange and appreciate the situation, grabbed two of the bags and started back for my room. During the walk back, I laughed more to myself upon coming to the realization that what I was doing was actually “recycling,” and felt infinitely virtuous as it is not normally a part of my nature to recycle.

I get back to my room and start to empty out my pockets, and out comes the dollar. The first thing that came to mind was “It’s all about the green.” I stopped, thought about it, and was stunned by the many entendres (as I had been recycling all night!). Not only that, but my sweatshirt was orange. “Wait – I had an orange!” was the next thought to cross my mind. Awesome.

I sat down with a pen and paper and after reflecting on the night’s activities, decided to start the Green (and Orange) initiative. The member’s initiative is to take only an orange (preferably) and some green – no more than a dollar – and spend some time going on an adventure where you contemplate life and try to recycle at least one thing. The member will then write their story about what they learned and accomplished, and together we will make a killer book about the subtleties of life’s truths, mixed in with sweet recycling tips.

As the first essay of the Green (and Orange) initiative, here is what I learned: Recycling is more than just something you do to the earth, it’s something you can do for yourself. To discover how to sustain the earth, I had to spend time with it. The same, I believe, can be said for ourselves.

February 4, 2009


Sam Rotenberg

Contributing EDGE Writer

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