Years ago we used to save up all of our aluminum cans and along with a neighbor, we’d take them to the recycling place. With big garbage bags full of cans, the guys who worked there would let me and my sister toss the cans into the machine and they’d give my mom and neighbor a few bucks for bringing them. I never knew the exact amount they got. Being a kid I was happy if they slid me a dollar or two.
Even though we stopped cashing in the cans long ago, we have all gotten in the habit of saving them rather than throwing them away. So why save aluminum cans if you’re not going to cash them in? Well we don’t just save them for nothing. Once I fill up a bag with empty aluminum cans I take them over to my mom’s house who then gives them to a homeless guy in the neighborhood who is always stopping by asking if we have any empty cans. While the cans may not do much for us, they can possibly buy this man a meal or at least put a little cash in his pocket.
When I see people on the street collecting cans and I know this may be their only source of income, I cannot allow myself to toss empty cans in the trash. The same now goes for my plastic water bottles. I use to just toss them in the trash when I was done until one day my aunt asked me if I would save my empty water bottles because she had gotten in the habit of recycling them. She doesn’t recycle them to get any money; she is just trying to do her part in helping the environment through recycling.
It all started with aluminum cans as a child, but now I make sure to pay extra attention before I just throw something in the trash. I look at the package and check whether or not it can be recycled. There are even separate bins in the alley, some are for trash and others are for items to be recycled such as old newspapers or plastics.
Some might as what is the point of recycling if they don’t get any money for it. Doing what’s right doesn’t always make you money. Sometimes it’s just the principle of the matter. But with recycling, you are benefiting the environment as a whole. Not only that, you might be helping a few individuals along the way. I read a story once about a man who paid for his son’s college education by collecting aluminum cans and recycling them. So the next time you’re about to toss that can in the trash, think about the possible benefits of recycling it. Now most people don’t finance college from recycling but then again you never know. Don’t crush your chance to make a difference when you crush your empty cans.