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noteA Teacher Notes: "My Recycling Origin Story"

I’m not a natural born recycler—I was taught very early in my adult life. When I moved back to Vancouver in 1980, I lived in a co-op house in East Vancouver. Sharing a life with five other young adults was not always easy, but it was always interesting. The very first weekend at my new home, my housemates (as they were called back then) were building shelving into the back porch. Sturdy boxes were put in place so we could separate our recyclable metal, glass and newspaper. And so I began.

Recycling in those days was a bit hit and miss. The only depot in Vancouver was down on East Kent Avenue, a forsaken stretch of the city at the time. Living at the depot was an old drunk in a ramshackle trailer. I rarely saw him but remember him shouting out the door at us as we attempted to empty our boxes onto the “correct” pallet. We imagined that he drank the residue of the alcohol in the bottles recycled there.

Not too long after, the old man passed away and, a few years later, recycling began to become mainstream. We’ve had curb side pick up in Vancouver for decades and, recently, my favourite new addition: the green bin. What a boon! Everything goes in there that used to present me with a problem—grease, bones, oyster shells, coffee cups—and makes it almost a non-event when it is the “real” garbage day every second week.

It all goes back into Vancouver’s fabulous gardens! So, although I was an early adopter of the green lifestyle, my greatest happiness has been in seeing how much my city has joined me in the 35 years I’ve lived here.

—September 30, 2015

Since my class is working to master difficult punctuation, I’ve used a few marks consciously in my piece. You can see the sentence interrupting dash, a colon, quotation marks used for effect, parentheses and a sentence ending dash. For more information on punctuation, be sure to visit The Punctuation Tree.




More Notes:

Comparing Cultures: A Tale of Two Cities
September 17, 2015

"Speak and Listen? Yes!"
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 "Thoughts on an Extraordinary Summer"
—September 3, 2015