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Trash, Treasure

What would you do?

You’ve seen the rubbish before, strewn about and forgotten. Bits of plastic, refuse in heaps, cast off personal items, you’ve seen it all before. So what do you do?

Perhaps you ignore it. It’s a common enough choice. We’ve all made the decision before. What’s another bit of rubbish except another bit of someone else’s problem? A little bit of millions of bits tossed in streets and collected at the bottom of fences and hung on poles across the globe. What’s one more piece that doesn’t get picked up?

Instead, perhaps, you pick it up. A worthwhile endeavor and certainly an act at the heart of conservation. As the popular quote goes, “be the change you want to see in the world”. The countless shreds of rubbish around the world come off the streets one piece at a time with one good deed at a time. You see several bits about, but undaunted you gather them all until it’s become quite the collection. Filling your hands, you make for the nearest bin relieved. You put the rubbish where it goes, but as you stuff it in the can, you realize it’s near full. There is room enough for the garbage, but you feel a pang. Somewhere a landfill becomes bloated with more waste. Better than on the street, but the fight for a greener earth is far from over.

What about this time? What if you pick it up, hands as full as ever before, and as you stand in front of the bin a new revelation hits. It seems so absurd at first, but an old cliché rings in your ears. This, these pieces of plastic and bits of paper are treasure? But when has rubbish become so low it can no longer be treasure? How luxurious have our lives become when rubbish can’t be seen as anything more than what our eyes see? Then the world changes. The streets become an embarrassment of riches. No item is too small to be re-imagined as something new. Something useful. Something capable of bringing joy in some unexpected way.

So, you see the rubbish like before, strewn about and forgotten. Bits of plastic, refuse in heaps, cast off personal items. What do you do?

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