Bottles in My Bag

Erasmo Calzadilla

Source of recyclables. photo: Veronica Fernandez

I don’t remember exactly when my desire for garbage and waste began.  When I was little, my grandfather would take me for walks along the sides of the highways that skirt the neighborhood where I live.

We would find accumulating there the most fantastic objects, which I suppose had been dumped by impatient truck drivers who never quite made to the official refuse sites.

This was my private amusement park and the pathway along which I let my imagination run wild.

Now I can’t go by any ravine without taking a glance, if only for just a second.  I’ll sometimes even go down to salvage interesting thing without the slightest embarrassment from the onlookers up above.  That’s why the change was not so abrupt when I decided to begin collecting empty bottles that I found along the street.

In this city —brimming with waste— it’s not unusual to come upon empty bottles, especially those that once held alcohol.  Recycling is worthwhile both for the country and the world and some change earned from collecting recyclables does no harm to my ordinarily empty pockets.

The Raw Materials Company pays a few symbolic pennies for each bottle (but isn’t a million dollars made of the sum of pennies?).

And if helping both the ecology and my pocket weren’t enough, picking up flasks is also good physical and mental exercise, I make at least one squat for each one I find, and my mind stays alert to the surrounding environment, while previously I walked dangerously engrossed in wherever I was thinking.

So I’ll keep on training myself in this so I’ll be able to earn a living at it when I’m old.  I’ve already talked to some professional bottler handlers (I’m only an amateur who picks up what he finds in his path), and if what they say is true, they earn more than I do as a university professor.

This work in the fresh air and without bosses is one that I’ll have in mind in the future; if I make it to that future.

2 thoughts on “Bottles in My Bag

  • One of the things that surprised me negatively in Cuba is the abundance of aluminum cans used for beer and soft drinks. Many people treat them with disregard and throw them out of driving cars etc.
    Why on earth was this wholly unsustainable and unecological change ever allowed to have happened.
    I know Cuba has started educating its population about recycling, but how many facilties are there for aluminium can recycling ? I would urge a return to deposit bottles.

  • All true socialist societies — by definition — would be recycling far more of their waste than even the most conscientious rich bourgeois suburbs. Communist society — by definition — would practically make even the concept of “waste” itself superfluous. And for that matter, another definition of communist society would be the complete absence of alcoholism — and alcoholics…

    So it’s a damned shame that Cuba really falls down in even the basics of waste recycling — coming across as more of the “Third (Thralled) World” country it ‘de facto’ remains. Let’s just hope cuban alcoholics stick to native rum for their self-induced oblivion, rather than resorting to imported vodka or whiskey: in order to keep Cuba’s balance-of-payments deficit to a minimum. Everyone has to keep at least a minimum of patriotic dignity, right..?

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