In this age of reuse, repurpose and recycle we’ve become accustomed to separating our waste into categories.
Our organic waste is divided into cooked and raw which our worm farms can break down and make compost out of. Our non-recyclables are separated from the glass, paper, textiles, metals and plastic which are carted off to recycling stations for filtering, further sorting and ultimately recycling. These days, the recycling bin is always filled to the top and the garbage bin is virtually empty.
It got me thinking, are there any other ways we could be reusing every day items before they enter the recycling process? The answer is of course there are.
Let’s say you have a number of plastic toys which are broken and lying about the house and, let’s face it, every house with children in it has at least a few of these. The toys are ultimately headed for the recycling centre but before they start their journey, they can be used one more time as a discipline tool. All that is required is a little marketing to create a demand for the toy and you’re all set.
Our little guy is two and a half now and is testing boundaries in every sense of the word. His favourite trick is to hit his older brother with whatever toy he happens to be holding in his hands when the dispute arises. This behavior is obviously strongly frowned upon and results in a timeout in the ‘naughty corner’. Often though, he won’t stay in corner and then of course the punishment doesn’t carry any weight. So my wife hit upon the idea of tossing a broken plastic toy car into the recycling and threatening to do the same to a more precious toy if he didn’t stay put.
It worked like a charm. He did his time in the corner and when he was paroled, he was sufficiently contrite and apologized for his transgression. We lightened our load (if only to the value of a small, broken plastic toy car) and the toy which became and unwitting accomplice in our duplicity was set on the path of reincarnation.
A truly win-win situation. The only fault with the plan is that the little guy is probably going to require more penance than we have toys to spare. That means we’ll either have to start getting rid of perfectly good toys (donations to children’s homes is an option here) or start buying broken toys to recycle which seems a little extreme. Time will decide the issue I think.
This can probably be classified as a ‘first world problem’.