Friday, January 11, 2008

I recycle because

I was brought up with recycling because my family has never been rich, and every penny has always counted. Kitchen waste went into the compost heap which provided compost for the soil, which fertilised the garden where we grew vegetables to eat.

Bottles went back for the deposit so we could afford some sweets or pop. Maybe a comic.

We bought meat from the butcher wrapped in greaseproof paper. We bought cheese in the same manner, cut off a larger cheese at the grocers. We generated very little waste for the bin men to collect.

I grew up with the Irish tradition of fishing and hunting 'for the pot', not for sport. Although if the fox that was in the chicken pen last night got torn to shreds by the local Hunt, I was always pretty relaxed about that, too.

Our pets earned their living too. Cats by hunting out mice and rats. The dogs kept vigil so we could sleep safe at night.

My brother and I cut logs for the fire. Dad and Mum ran businesses. Everybody in the household had chores. We did them, and even when times were tough, no one ever went hungry.

In the power cuts of the 1970's we traded cut seasoned logs for our neighbours solid fuel stove in return for borrowing their cooker. We dug snow and packed it in tin boxes in the garage when the refrigerator couldn't run because there was no power. We ate well under lamplight, and sang old comic music hall songs and Gilbert and Sullivan while Mum or Dad played the piano in candlelight.

I don't recycle because I believe what scaremongering politicians tell me. I recycle because I'm a cheap bastard and understand that people like me never let their families go hungry. Ergo I recycle, and have done since I was a child. I will continue to recycle because I despise the casual wastefulness of others, not because I have the self centred arrogance to believe that I am helping 'save the planet'. Earth can get on quite well with or without me, but I have this little habit called breathing I'm rather fond of, call me an old silly if you will.