Like most people, I sort my recycling out each week. Unlike most people, I don’t separate out plastics and paper, so much as “aspirational” and “embarrassing”.
EldestGirl’s school often asks parents for empty packets and bottles for junk modelling. As most weeks our recycling bin is bulgingly-full of Amazon packaging, I am more than happy to offload some of it to the school. But of course, I am adamant we must only donate the right sort of junk.
- Tasteful Lakeland pannetone tin – YES
- Waitrose fresh herbs box – YES
- Ocado quinoa tub – YES
- Aldi knock-off Coco Pops packet – NO. This insinuates my children eat breakfast other than organically-grown and artisan-harvested porridge, sold exclusively at Fortnums, served with a “treat” of vine-ripened raisins on weekends.
- Empty vodka bottle – NO
Of course, realistically, I am 100% certain that EldestGirl’s school teachers are far too busy to notice or care what sort of literal trash each parent brings in. I know without a shadow of a doubt that they are not spending their free time sorting recycling into which parent gave which box, and making notes on our child’s school records accordingly. Well, I am 99.9% sure anyway.
It matters not. Upon recognising familiar junk at the school, EldestGirl quickly “rescues” it for us and returns it home, apparently “junk modelled” but – to the untrained eye – looking completely bastarding the same as it was when I sent it in. Last time, not even a cursory mangy bit of string or halfhearted piece of tape was fastened to our free-range pheasant egg-carton before it was put into her schoolbag and dragged home. When questioned, a vague, “Yes, I still need to do a bit of work on that one,” will be tossed in our direction. We are then left with Schrodinger’s Recycling – apparently now an objet d’art, the junk cannot be re-recycled, nor returned to the school. Instead, our playroom (and living room, and kitchen, and bedrooms) are decorated with – admittedly mostly middle-class – empty boxes.
Term starts again today. I look forward to picking EldestGirl up from school, with a beautiful scale model of a pterodactyl, made entirely from an empty kimchi jar and Charbonnel et Walker wrappers. That we bought especially so we could donate to the school for recycling.
Standards must be upheld.