Plastic Pause, part 2

Here is the awful truth: most of what we “throw away” at school cannot be recycled. It is not worth the kabadiwalla’s time and energy and the scrap dealers won’t take it either–even if you want to give it to them.

In the classroom, what one finds in the trashcan is torn up chits (those little notes children send to one another and then rip up into tiny pieces so no one else can read them), chalk pieces, pencil shavings, and the occasional disposable plastic pen or multi-layer foil packaging from biscuits or chocolates. At home the majority of the waste comes from those same biscuit and chocolate wrappers.

Note: that paper would be 100% valuable, recyclable material if the children would not rip up the paper!


So this leads me to my second half of yesterday’s dilemma: is it worth all the agony of trying to teach people to segregate their waste (and after 2+ years it is still rarely segregated at source) if most of the high value items that kabadiwallas will take off your hands and give you cash for are not items we have much of here?

Once again the answer is to reduce consumption. But that is not very appealing to either children or adults who want what they want and don’t seem to see the need to alter their behaviour for the better good. How does one make reduction appealing?


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