This morning I was putting out the trash, because today is Friday and I actually remembered it was trash day. I put out the trash and I was taking clothes off the line when a little boy started walking over with his puppy. The little boy wore no shoes, but carried a potato sack above his head as his little dog pranced around him at his feet. The sack was bigger than he was, of course, he couldn't have been older than six or seven. He came right up to the fence where I had tied the trash bags and started feeling around the bags. When he found something he thought he wanted he opened the bag and began to dig through them. He pulled out the empty fabric softener bottle, old broken plastic flower pots and water bottles. Anything edible he pulled out and handed to his dog. At first I stood there trying to pretend I was doing something else, so he wouldn't think I was watching him, but after a while I just stood there. I stood there silently staring at him for about five minutes. He never once acknowledged I was there, he didn't once pretend he wasn't digging through the trash. He didn't act ashamed of it at all. This was his job and he saw nothing wrong with it. Watching this poor boy dig through the trash was the saddest thing I have ever seen. This young boy wasn't even old enough to read and he was walking through the neighborhood barefoot digging through the trash looking for plastic to recycle so he could help feed his family. I went back inside to see if I had something to give him. I found 3 water bottles on the counter. I walked back outside with the bottles, "Do you want these?" He looked at me funny, not understanding a word I said. I showed him the bottles, and he got a huge grin on his face, he said, "Salamat!" (Thank you)
I decided I'm going to start a recycling bag. I will keep all the plastic and aluminum cans in a separate bag on the fence so he doesn't have to look through the trash, and maybe a bag of Pedigree for the puppy too. It's things like that, that really put things in to perspective for you.