Once upon a time…

There lived a family that grew up never knowing where anything they bought and used came from or went to.

They lived in the land of Convenience in the city of Disposaville where all of their friends and neighbours led a blissful life of ease and indulgence.

Everything they owned they only used once and threw away.

Cigarette lighters, cameras, flashlights, diapers, paper plates, forks and knives, bottles and cans, and even contact lenses.

No need to save or repair or clean or reuse. Everything was disposable. It was a wonderful life. So much so that more and more people came from all over to live in the land of Convenience. Soon there were many, many people.

The family that grew up never knowing where anything they bought and used came from or went to soon found that life was not so blissful. Prices went up faster and faster. They had to work harder and harder. They even had to buy disposable guns to protect themselves and their disposable things from some people who society considered…disposable.

One day a government man came to their door with some bad news. The family’s house would be torn down because the city of Disposaville had to make room for a landfill.

“What’s a landfill?” they all asked in unison. The man told them. “Its where we dispose of all our solid wastes, our trash and garbage. Unfortunately we’ve run out of landfill space and we have to find more. Sorry.”

The family was forced to move away from the city of Disposaville and from the land of Convenience altogether. They wandered from place to place and were turned away again and again. “This is what it must feel like too be disposed of,” they thought.
Finally one day they came to the open gates of a beautiful town where they could find many houses to choose from because it wasn’t overcrowded. There were lots of trees and open space. A woman greeted them at the gate. “Welcome to Recycleville in the land of Conservation!”

The family that grew up never knowing where anything they bought and used came from or went to were glad to have a home again. Soon they were learning the strange customs of their new land. They learned that they could not throw everything away. What they did throw away, they had to sort out-—metals, aluminum, paper, glass, newspaper and plastics. At first it was difficult and awkward. But soon it became a natural habit because they saw their neighbors do it too.

They began to learn where things that they bought and used came from, like paper from trees and plastics from petroleum. They began to see that everything they used came from the Earth, not just a shopping center. They learned how to use energy more efficiently and to conserve instead of waste. They even began to see how they could live a blissful life again by being intelligent and responsible.
They felt good about their city and themselves. As more and more disposed of people came to settle in Recycleville in the land of Conservation, the better things became because the city made more money on recycled products. And no one needed to buy guns to protect themselves and their things from anyone because, most importantly, no one was ever considered by society as disposable.

And the family that finally grew up to know where everything they bought and used came from and went to lived happily ever after.

Story by Christopher Toussaint