I’m Turning into my Mother: Recycling Edition

I looked at the Gatorade bottle lying in the rocks. My hand itched to pick it up, my mind battled with the logic behind it. There isn’t much for recycling on the island, but they do recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Either way, it was far from the dump…and it would be so easy to pick it up and take it home.

I laughed to myself as I bent down and picked it up and then again when I saw an empty can half buried in the snow.

I had gone on a walk around my corner of the island to take pictures and enjoy the relatively warm (above zero) sunshine. Similarity number one: my mother and I both enjoy walks around our neighborhoods. Similarity number two: we both have the continuous need to pick up trash as we go.

By the time I reached home, I not only had two things to recycle, but I was also carrying an old spark plug (which I honestly have no idea what I’m going to do with it). That doesn’t seem like much, but I only walked about half a city block away from my home!



It pains me to see trash on the ground and it pains me just as much to throw recycling in the trash. This was something I dealt with while living in Brazil. Although my roommate and I recycled, there weren’t bins all over the place and most of our neighbors would throw their empty cans and bottles in the community garbage. There was a time or two that I made Sofia help me carry empty bottles to the recycling area.

My family has always recycled and we’ve always separated our recycling. It is a part of me that I don’t want to give up…even if I am now the weirdo that collects empty aluminum cans at the end of Superbowl parties, or hangs out after school events to pick up anything that could be recycled.


I even started paying my students (in classroom currency) 1 Qavvik Buck per recyclable item that they bring in. Although, it was only fitting that our first reading unit was on recycling. We even thought about class composting, but I’m not ready to tackle that outside of the home, yet.


The village can’t process the recycling here, so recycling is taken off the island by bush plane which means that it is one less thing to be placed into our landfill that is often scattered into the surrounding water by fierce winds and animals. Granted, it may not be as simple as figuring out where to take it (my student’s mom runs the program), but I feel like I have to give it a try.

There could be worse people to be turning into, so, Mom, I’ll take it.