When I was a child, recycling had more to do with saving money than protecting the environment. Mother thoroughly washed every single glass jar and stored it in the pantry to be reused for preserves. We returned the glass bottles that held milk and yogurt to the small neighborhood grocery store knowing they would be cleaned and used again.
As a grade school project a few times a year we competed in collecting the newspapers around the neighborhood. We bound the bundles with rope and took them to a collection place where they were weighed and priced. The money we earned was applied to fund field trips for the students whose parents could not afford them.
And of course, you could not buy a case of beer if you did not bring back a case filled with the empty beer bottles. Not that it concerned us in the slightest at the time.
Some of my most horrid memories as a young teen stem back to the days when Father led us on trash-collecting expeditions on Saturdays when he was not on call in the hospital. Most of our friends enjoyed leasurely weekend moments watching TV, goofing around with their siblings, or running after a soccer ball in a near-by field. Not us. Equipped with plastic grocery bags, we’d follow Father around the building and picked up discarded bottles, plastic bags, and various paper trash that miraculously emerged during the night. He thought we were setting an example. We were mortified, but had no other choice but to follow him around and do his bidding.
Throughout the years, I became disillusioned with the majority of the populace, their utter disregard for the environment and the inability to see beyond the next moment. When the snow melted in March and the ugly trash appeared along the banks of the rivers, I strongly supported my Father’s idea of steep littering fines. And when the pristine meadows became the depository of post-picnic garbage on May Day, my heart ached for the wounded nature.
We are in southern California now and Father’s OCD beautifully coincided with his convictions and the state laws concerning garbage and recycling. He meticulously separated our trash, making sure that nothing gets lost or misplaced, dragged the cans to the curb, and watched in amazement as the huge recycling trucks pulled up and giant claws grabbed the cans to empty them. He swore under his breath a few times remarking on the unwillingness of people to separate their garbage in Serbia even though the city governments gave away free differently colored plastic cans to all its citizens. “Hit them in the wallet and they’ll remember!”, was his lamenting cry.
I don’t take my girls around the neighborhood to collect trash, but I have instilled in them the respect for nature that surrounds us. They dutifully fill out the three paper bags that hold different categories of garbage and help me empty the bags of recyclable bottles in the recycling center. They keep the money and buy treats as a reward for good citizenship. We line our trash cans with grocery store plastic bags from the ever-dwindling pile and place our groceries in the big, colorful, canvas bags.
The other day I saw one of those bags with the writing: I used to be a water bottle; the woman who carried it was walking rather quickly and I had no time to pry more details, but I was intrigued. It is admirable to know that there are so many products that can be reused and recycled, but it is remarkable to actually see the results of recycling and hold such a product in your hand.
Arrowhead Water is running a campaign Recycling Is a Beautiful Thing in California, to celebrate the emergence of their new ReBorn Bottle, made with 50% recycled plastic. It made me smile as I read about their company policies and efforts to the environment trash-free and beautiful. They are committed to preserving mountain springs which are the sustainable source of the water they use. Their facilities are LEED certified and they use wind turbines for renewable energy. They are making it their priority to encourage the recycling and educate the people about various approaches and ways plastic can be re-purposed, again and again, with no end. The more plastic bottles get recycled, the more high-quality plastic can be given another life and turned into everyday products.
This is what Arrowhead Water has to say about their new campaign:
“Recycled plastic is simply a better source of plastic. It’s part of Arrowhead’s ongoing commitment to preserving our natural springs, and ensures that every bit of Arrowhead, both inside and out, is truly Born Better. Better IS the new ReBorn Bottle, “ proof recycling works.”
To launch their campaign and encourage recycling, the company made a short video “Recycling Is a Beautiful Thing” and uploaded it to their Facebook page. There are several other videos demonstrating their efforts and initiative about the recycling and commitment to preserve Mother Nature that so generously gives us its resources.
My Father went back to Serbia a few weeks ago and I am convinced that he will at least try to share his experiences and motivate his neighbors to pay more respect to the environment and make greater efforts in recycling. As for his part, he lines the shelves of his cellar with used plastic 1-liter water bottles filled to the brim with his homemade grappa and slivovitz, committed not to waste and doubting of the recycling views of the city officials.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Arrowhead Waters and I am delighted to be a part of their campaign to promote and encourage recycling and preserving of our natural resources.