Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recycling Prep-School Style

Maybe its my fault the boys like recycling so much.
One thing Germany does well is recycling. 

Altdorf itself was actually too anal about it.  Damon and I called the women at the recycling place the 'Recyling Nazis',  something noone else seemed to find funny, despite the fact they were so totally 'over it.'  It might have been that they just didn't see anything wrong with two women running over to you to inspect whether or not you have sorted your clear plastic from your colored plastic from the little bags the soup come in properly.  And made you do it again if you hadn't.

Then my friend Karen told me they recombined some of the recycling again because they needed some of it to fuel an incinerator or something.

Damon and I went to Boeblingen, run by some really nice eastern European men who not only helped you out with a bit more respect than the Recycling Nazis but also hung out and chatted with us a bit afterwards. 

We were judged pretty severely by neighbors for putting our trash out every other week.  Noone seemed to understand that TWO kids in diapers filled that bin up pretty quickly.

But once we got Aidan and Matthew out of diapers we too were able to go six weeks without pick-up.  The recycling, which we had to take to the center ourself, was a weekly affair.

The thing is, they've got it backwards here.  (And in the USA too from what I understand.)  The trash is picked up weekly but the recycling only bi-weekly.  Here and in the USA you are pretty proud of yourself for recycling soda cans, newspapers, tin cans and plastic bottles.  That, folks, is not even the tip of the recycling iceberg.  If you read what is written on the container, you can pretty much recycle EVERYTHING except for some really dirty fish papers.  And diapers.

We've had to put out recycling in the trash this week because we just had too much.

And here, they make it easy for you.  No sorting.  Just dump it in the bin.  AND they pick it up for you.  In Europe, you have these awful bins in your house to sort the plastic from the paper from the cork from the tin from is such a pain that I stopped recycling the things we only had a little of and threw it in the trash for convenience.

Honestly, Leute, at some point you have got to make it easier for people with large families to do some of this stuff because people right now seem to be so busy sorting and cleaning and doing everything perfectly, by the book, that noone has the time for more than one or two kids.
Aidan and his favorite toy - an empty box.

Of course, Lawnton parents seem to have their own form of recycling.  Most of the teachers at school ask for cardboard boxes and rolls of toilet paper to use for art projects.  Ms. Dance, Aidan and Matthew's Prep teacher goes a step further (as always!) and asks for ribbons and old greeting cards and basically anything the kids might find interesting in creating something new.

Aidan and Matthew started coming home with some really really horrendous - by which I mean fantastically creative - art work a few weeks ago.  For my boys, bigger means better.  So that we have strips of wallpaper glued to huge sheets of construction paper.  And bits of lace glued to egg cartons.  These are all carried home proudly and then used as additions to the Lego and Playmobil creations in the playroom. 

It progressed.  The artwork got bigger and uglier.  Excuse me, I mean more and more creative and original.  I was hunting through their room while they were at school, trying to sort the garbage - excuse me again, I mean ARTWORK - they wouldn't notice was gone from the stuff they were sure to miss.  And believe me, it's hard to tell which egg carton they would notice was missing.

My boys LOVE the recycling bin at school.  They come home with jewelry boxes and fancy gift boxes with snazzy clasps in intricate, velvety liners.  I know better than to throw these away.

The thing is they are just spending time sorting through the bin for goodies now.  They don't NEED to MAKE anything out of it.  They just need to bring it home.  HOW GREAT IS THIS?  IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY!

At least we know we don't have to go all out for their birthday presents anymore!  How about a roll of old string?  Or some old carpeting maybe?

This week Aidan brought home about 30 old Christmas cards.  Ms Dance said he had spent a LOT of time and energy hunting them out of the bin.  He was very very intent and excited.  Great.  Now that I've finally managed to deal with my own hoarding tendencies - I save only the best and put the rest in the bin - I've got Aidan bringing home SOMEONE ELSE'S memories.  These will be easier for me to recycle.  Except for the fact that he is counting them daily and making sure I don't take them from him!

Matthew brings home fancy shopping bags and carries them around like purses.  Oh sorry, I believe we are supposed to call them 'man bags' now.  Shades of the whole Teletubbies fiasco of a few years ago.  To be honest, I'm not so worried about him carrying a purse as I am about the fact that he brings home a new one every day now.

What really made me decide I needed to have a talk with Ms Dance though was when I walked into the Prep class yesterday to pick up the boys and saw Aidan strutting towards me carrying a box that was bigger than he was.  That's it.  A box.  A crock-pot box.  He was as excited as I would have been if there had actually been a crock-pot IN it!  Look Mom, of ALL the kids in class, I GET TO CARRY HOME THIS HUGE EMPTY BOX!

Until he opened it up at home and I found some more Christmas cards and strips of wallpaper inside.

Oh yay.

I've got a vacuum cleaner box I'd like to give to the child of the person who gave us the crock-pot box.   But, with my luck, my kids will just bring it home again anyway.

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