Who Determines the Value?

Today while I was dropping off our cardboard stash and the recycling center, I did my usual routine of checking each barrel in front the recycling dumpsters (The workers and probably some people put lids, corks, bags, and other things that come on the recyclable items that aren’t necessarily recyclable themselves) for corks, bottle caps and other useable items. While I was there, there was another guy who was also unloading his stuff and he saw that I was taking the caps and we had an exchanging of words that went something like this:

Him: “Are you guys collecting those?”

Me: “Yeah.” He handed me a bottle cap off the ground. “Thanks.”

Him: “What are you using them for?”

Me: “An art project.” (An art project is what I call it because it’s something that people can easily understand and that doesn’t take too long to explain.)

Him: “Oh, I thought they had some kind of value.” And then he drives away.

This conversation seems a bit short and rude, but it was really not. He was nice and so was I, but the last part I didn’t really register until he had already gone away.

If I had thought faster or if he would have left slower then I would have said, “Oh, but sir, they do. So much value.” And then I would have started rambling, explaining all the things that I have made and that other people have made. It’s really, really amazing. The creativity that people have shown when using such items such as trash, still never ceases to amaze me.

Before I started looking for it, I had never even heard of upcycling. And I’m sure that lots of other people haven’t either, especially where I live. We seem to be lagging behind in the modern times of recycling and other environmental friendly processes and usage.  And usually when people are ignorant about things, it tends to make me angry like it’s a personal thing or because I can’t believe people wouldn’t know to do that. Like getting your pets spayed or neutered or taking them to the vet when they’re sick. That seems like common sense to me, but some people swear on their life that it’s not common knowledge. I could easily get on a rant about people not taking their animals to the vet when they’re sick, it’s my biggest pet peeve, but I’m going to try to leave it at that. Anyways, I don’t blame people for not upcycling. I don’t blame them for not seeing trash as something that can be useful because trash is trash. And as a throwaway society, why would it even enter our minds to think of anything otherwise.  I’m not mad, not even frustrated, I just know that we need to do a better job of getting the word out. When people reject the idea completely then I’ll probably get a little disgruntled, but there is still plenty of time for that.

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