Sorting Glass

Snipping off the thin ring of metal.

Brown, Green, Clear?

Underhand toss with a high enough arc to clear the upper rim of the bin.

In the 1970’s recycling was a Do-It-Yourself affair.

No curbside pickup, no co-mingling.

You drove to the dump and sorted it yourself. While not a regular family outing some Saturdays we donned dirty denims, long sleeved t-shirts and gloves. Perhaps prompted by Earth Day or by my parent’s World War II childhood, we did this as a family.  The newspaper had been bundled a la Grandpa Meixner.  Dad taught us all how to wrap with twine and cinch it with a special slip knot. So a simple toss into the semi-sized container.  Cans- the prime reason for gloves, had already had both top and bottom off and flatten. Not so easily tossed due to the shape. In my imagination I can picture us attempting to throw like a Frisbee. The glass, however, provided the most enjoyment.

The glass recycling presented the most steps. As someone who likes process this proved attractive to me. Cap off and into the trash.  Use the pliers to twist or snip off the ring of metal. Determine which of the bins by color to toss the glass.  Heave-Ho and the clash of breaking glass met your ears.  I know this final sound provided me the most satisfaction.

Even decades later we find ourselves going to the dump to recycle. Like in July 2016 when we vacationed at Deep Creek Lake, MD. My Dad and I took the recycling to the local station and deposited. The process lacked the satisfying crash of a glass bottle lobbed into the truck container. Still, I felt satisfied that the value of reuse and recycling has stayed with us decades later.

Have a Productive Day,

Anne Meixner

Dear Reader, please share your comments and stories that are sparked by this piece. Did you grow up with a family work party of sorts? See Contribute for how you can share a story at The Engineers’ Daughter.

Additional Reading

The first Earth day celebration occurred on 22 April 1970. Learn more about today’s efforts here.

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