Recycling Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,965 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,526 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Cleaning Up/Recycling Expert Level Merit Badge, I really honed in on a new-found passion: recycling.

Yes, that sadly neglected “R” (nearly as neglected as the “rythmatic” in the other 3 Rs we know so well) was becoming a focal point in Yours Truly’s life at last, and I was ready to earn my last badge for it.

It was a long haul, I’m here to tell you. When I first started recycling, it was with half a heart. A lack of passion. A milk carton here, a piece of cardboard there … basically (*blushes madly*), I only recycled when I ran out of room in my regular trash can.

But I have repented of my wayward ways, ladies! Wayward ways? Isn’t that redundant? Aren’t all ways wayward? Well, I know mine tend to be. Anyway, back to what I was saying. Recycling. Girls, it’s more fun than it looks.

Also, it can be a little addicting. I don’t know why—call me crazy—but it’s kind of like a treasure hunt in reverse. I hunt for things that can live another life. I think it makes me a conservationist, don’t you? Or at the very least, a super-nifty person.


My recycling bins were still sittin’ pretty in my kitchen, and I was getting so good at knowing what can and can’t be recycled that my recycling picker-upper wasn’t leaving me helpful (and annoyed) notes anymore. I was tossing things in with a feverish dedication that made my trash nearly empty (after composting and recycling, it’s ahMAYzing how little trash you have … we’re talking a straw here, a orange-juice cap there). It was time for Part B of Jane’s Plan for World Recycling:

Recruiting a friend.

Neighbors are best for this, because after all, you see their garbage. I mean, it’s sitting right next to mine every Tuesday morning on the curb, am I right? Except for the Tuesdays I forget, and I run down the street in my pajamas … but you get the drift. Anyway, my neighbor (we’ll call her Sally*) was not exactly the world’s most devoted recycler. No, her big red bin the city provided was mostly used to hang up her line-dry-only clothing, and as shade for her cats. But her big black bin? The regular trash one? It was heaped high each week and practically moaning under the weight of all that garbage. I pulled on my gloves, figuratively and literally (hey, it IS trash, after all) and got myself over to Sally’s house.

Evidently, first thing in the extremely wee hours of a Tuesday was not the best time to announce my presence and my desire to sort through refuse with Sally, but after she drank a cup of coffee and glared at me for a while, she came around to the idea. Also, I promised donuts. I like to think that it was her passion, her commitment, her zeal for the Earth, though, that really won out.

(It may have been the custard-filled maple bar).

Today, my street … tomorrow, the world!

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty innocent.


Leave a comment 2 Comments

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    We are very lucky that our city refuse provides containers for paper and other recycling along with the trash. People use it everywhere. It is not available in the county and so it takes commitment to sort at home and then haul to a large rural recycle area. Sadly, I think a small percentage go to the trouble of doing that . What we need is for a more comprehensive commitment from our garbage handlers!

  2. Karlyne says:

    Poor “Sally”, I mean lucky Sally! We have no recycling in our community at all, so I just try not to use much stuff that goes straight into the garbage, and I’ve noticed that we have waaaaay less garbage than the Sallies in my neighborhood.

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