Day 148: Crazy Old Recycling Diva

teenagers-hiphop-cartoonIt’s funny, when I talk to adults about the Clean Bin Project, I sometimes sound quite righteous and almost snobby, but when I talk to kids, I get a little embarrassed.

By kids, I mean teenagers. And the most judgemental of those: 13 year olds.  Most years I coach a high school sports team which, this year, gave me access to 14 adolescent minds with which to test the “ultimate coolness” of the Clean Bin Project.

I started off by casually talking about recycling.  (They were on board).  I mentioned I take all my waste home with me.  (A few weird looks).  I say I haven’t taken my garbage out in 4 months. (Stares of disbelief).  Someone asks about feminine hygiene, and it’s all over.

divaThey think I’m crazy.  I keep months worth of recycling in my house, I make my own toothpaste, and, at that time of the month, I use a little plastic cup that gets (horrors) washed out and reused.

No amount of cajoling or coercing could get them to see this as “normal”; although, I did have one girl say that her mom used to have to use fabric scraps as a child and she thought it sounded better than that.  Gee thanks.  Chalk one up for me.

But mostly they just asked why.

Why the heck would I want to do that?  Was it a contest?  Was someone making me do it?  What about clothes?  What about shampoo?  What about toilet paper?  Ok, I admit in the end, we had a bit of a good discussion, but they still thought I was crazy.

The only thing that ended up redeeming whatever coolness factor I may have had was that I mentioned we were making a documentary about it.

“Really? Like in the movie theatre?  Will you be the star?  Will it show here?  Can we see it”

“Well, yes, I’ll be in it, and it will probably show once or twice somewhere around here.”

“Cool.  Ya, that’s cool.”



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5 responses to “Day 148: Crazy Old Recycling Diva

  1. Well done you for planting seeds – that’s so awesome. It’s all about ‘normalisation’ and every time you mention something, say the diva for example, you are normalising your experience to them.

    I’m lucky with dd because from an early age she has known I use washable pads. When I told her what tampons and disposable towels were and how they were disposed of she was as horrified about that as your teenagers are over the reusable idea………..

    I’m hoping that as reusable san pro becomes more and more mainstream we can put these ‘old fashioned’ ideas to bed once and for all.

    Interesting though; you found the ‘cool’ part – the idea of a movie, so work with that and good luck!

  2. good or you! loooove the divacup too, just regret I didn’t know of it years before!

  3. I got the same look of horror from my 12 year old step-daughter while trying to explain the diva cup. I think it’s still too soon for that, but she did decide to use reusable pads. Even makes her own now.

    I am glad she had these options from the get go. To her they are normal. Maybe she will influence some of her peers to think for themselves.

  4. jazzyonherway

    I realize I’m reading this blog years after you wrote it – but I’m loving it! Just rented your documentary off iTunes and thought it was fantastic and inspirational. Discovered it through lifewithoutplastic. I’ve been telling my friends about your project and someone asked me yesterday what about feminine hygiene project. I said I didn’t know as you hadn’t mentioned it in the documentary but that I hoped you knew about the diva cup and voila, here in the post I discovered that you did! I’ve using it for a year and telling every women I know (and some women I don’t know) to use it. I hope it becomes the standard eventually.

    • Thanks for the feedback! I don’t write as much as I used to, but we’re still pretty committed to zero waste. I know it’s weird that we didn’t mention the divacup in the film – I think we just forgot by the time it came time to edit! Keep up the great work in your own life.

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