We are living in a world littered with trash. You buy a bottle of ‘coca-cola’ at the local shop on the way home from school. You drink it down, check under the label to see if you have won a prize, and discovering that you haven’t, you throw the bottle into the trashcan. Being a good citizen, aren’t you? You could have thrown it into the bush; hidden away, or even just dropped it behind you like the naughty kids. Yet still, our world is littered with trash. Think of all the places we see trash in our lives – in the rubbish bin is only the first of dozens of places. There is the trash that people just throw on the ground behind them – it fills the gutters, blocks the rainwater systems, gets fed out to sea and animals choke to death on it.

Take a walk along the beach and you may find old bottles and cans, bits of fishing line, the odd broken appliance even an old boat that may have been fished up from the ocean. There are broken down cars left on the side of the road, there are pieces of chewing gum stuck under your desk at school. The local park has a pile of bottles, ice cream wrappers, lolly wrappers and junk caught up under the bushes. We are up to our necks in litter and soon there will be no place to hide! The world is now a throw away world – from the packaging itself right down to the product that doesn’t go anymore after five years. It is everyone’s responsibility to make a difference to the future of the planet!

Let’s start with the good old coke bottle that you just threw into the bin. Investigations into litter have found that those drink bottles and cans are pretty much the number one source of litter in the United States! And though I don’t know the statistics for the rest of the world – you can bet it is pretty similar wherever you go. In the United States there are over one hundred billion single-serve drinks sold. An amazing statistic when you think what could happen if one in ten people threw their drink bottle or can on the roadside. That’s ten billion pieces of litter just in America alone!

So what’s the answer? Well, there are no easy answers besides giving up soft drinks and the like altogether (I’d bet your mum would approve!) but there is a way you can help…. RECYCLE!! By recycling you can help the environment in many, many ways. It means that your bottle that you just threw into the bin is broken down and reused (maybe as another bottle, or maybe as something else)! That means there would be less of those containers just lying around making our environment look yucky. The cost of cleaning the streets would lessen and there would be less useless garbage sitting at the landfill.

In America there are lots of campaigns encouraging you to recycle – because it really will benefit the environment. And in many countries across the world there are similar campaigns going: “Keep New Zealand/England/Ireland/Israel Beautiful.” Numerous countries around the world (from America to New Zealand to the United Kingdom) offer rewards for bringing your bottles and cans to the recycling depot. These rewards are usually in the form of good old money. Take your can in – get some money back. Take ten cans in and make ten times the profit. There have been many success stories of the smart kids – the ones that pick up these cans off the street and go and make money from them… sometimes even lots of money. But it’s all a way to encourage recycling.

These money back schemes are not new ideas either. Back in the olden days, when your parents were just spring chickens, soft drinks were sold in glass bottles that required a deposit (like a refundable bond) to ensure that they were returned to be recycled and resold! Take a look inside your local Burger King and you will see the old time adverts promoting getting five cents back for your empty bottle. A great idea – especially when it was compulsory! These days, it is just easier to throw it in the bin for the sake of five cents. But it is not fair on our home – Earth.

So, take your cans and bottles to the recycling centres. You may not earn much money but you will be helping to save the environment. These items are melted down back into their raw materials and those materials then go off to a different factory to make something new… be it a new coke bottle, a can for your baked beans or a new jar for your jam. These days old plastic bottles can even be made into clothing! In addition making new things from recycled materials often takes less time, effort and manpower than making these products from scratch. Which in turn means the factories are pumping less pollution into the air and producing less rubbish of their own! And you will also be helping to get rid of that trash on the street… and the trash that is taken from the trash can but dumped to rot at the landfill. Recycling also means that we will need less room for those landfills and more room for the fun stuff – like parks, swimming pools, shopping malls and let’s not forget the TV stations!!

Recycling is an easy way that you can get involved in cleaning up the environment. You are the important person here. Make the effort!! Every single person that makes the effort is helping the earth to be a less trashy place. It’s worth it for a beautiful world for years to come….

The Tribe and Recycling
In The Tribe recycling is not exactly about recycling because they want to but if you didn’t then there wouldn’t be much in your life. There are not many new things in Tribeworld and if they are new then they’ve probably been made from something old anyway.

Clothes, tools, furniture, houses, rubbish and all sorts are used over and over again in a world where no factories are making new ones.

The kids are forced to scavenge to clothe themselves and anything they find could have a use, if not for them then for someone else. Which is why trading the things you find can be very useful and profitable to them and to you. An old bottle could store nuts and bolts, old tin cans could be stacked and glued together to form something for children to play with. And of course there are the more precious items, fuel, food, clean water, and of course these items are most precious because they’re scarce and they’re not recyclable.

The kids in Tribeworld have stopped yearning for new things – they see the light in old things that might have a use. They’ve changed the way they think about “that old shoe” and can see that the laces could be useful and the rubber sole might prop up their uneven bed.

Perhaps that is something we all need to do. Find another use for something we are about to throw away. We don’t want you to horde everything you find but it might just be that that old piece of junk is exactly what you’ve been looking for.