the true value of recycling

Filed in Blog by on November 21, 2011 4 Comments
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Cheryl Davidson funds her trip of a lifetime - by recycling!

Cheryl Davidson funds her trip of a lifetime - by recycling!

The other week I shared a query from a reader about making money recycling aluminium cans.

We talked about ideas such as finding a scrap metal merchant and some of you shared your own experiences – especially those of you living in the US.

More recently we shared how Little Miss Green had pocketed herself £3 for recycling some of her old clothes.

This week I wanted to share a truly inspiring story with you.

Litter-hating, Californian Mum of two teenagers, Cheryl Davidson, decided to teach her kids a lesson in the value of recycling.

She set herself the challenge of financing a trip to Italy solely from collecting and selling recyclable materials.

She collected glass, tin and plastic recyclables from everywhere and anywhere including gyms where her children play sports. Then she took them to a recycling centre in the East Valley to have them weighed and crushed. Each time she made $25 or so she would put it in her “Tuscany Fund”.

It took her three and a half years and she saved over $7,000, which did indeed, fund a two week holiday to Italy!

What I love about this story is that Cheryl LOOKED for opportunities – if she went out for a meal, she took the empty wine bottle home. When walking around she would pick up ‘litter’ from the streets.

All the while her children scoffed at her ideas of collecting things from the streets worth only 5 cents. But as Cheryl pointed out – every little bit adds up.

What a brilliant story showing how our waste can be a resource!

As for her children – they and their friends are now avid recyclers too!

Check out “Mom recycles her way to Italy” and “Ciao, Tuscany! Recycling paying for trip

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (4)

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  1. Julie Day says:

    Wow, puts me to shame the way she collected them. Think I have to ask people at restaurants and pubs if they recycle and if not, maybe take the things home with me. I do with crisp packets.

  2. that is the sort of news which make me turn green with envy…had i not eaten all my proceeds, i could have gone to Italy again, and this time, not in a zero star hostel…

    i feel ‘California warm’ all over for the educational aspect of it; the dedication and tenacity it took to teach by example is remarkable and the fact that she did not need the money to supplement her income proves that recycling is not just about money–but about cleaning up the face of life on earth. no more waste–no more using resources without returning, recycling, re-using…this is a most inspiring article, worth sharing..

  3. Teresa says:

    I didn’t know you could get money from plastic and glass bottles only from aluminium cans. There’s enough thrown down in the street where I live for me to collect everyday and store in my shed until I have enough to take to a scrap metal dealer.

    I have gone into a restaurant close to where I live to ask for empty wine bottles but they were for my use only as I had been making some wine and it was ready to be bottled.

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Julie Day: She’s a real inspiration isn’t she?

    @nadine sellers: Thanks Nadine; Cheryl is definitely a woman I want to shake by the hand 🙂

    @Teresa: it depends on the facilities where you live. I’m not aware of being able to sell much recyclables either over here…

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