Look closely at the back of a plastic water bottle and you will see something that says CRV(California Redemption Value) 5 cents. What does this mean? It means when you buy something that has this printed on it, you pay 5 cents extra. Why pay extra for a bottle of liquid? Because the government wants to encourage you to recycle. Most people just pay this tax/deposit amount and forget about it. But some people gather these bottles and trade them in for money at a recycling center. We are one of those people who don’t forget our deposit because redemption is exactly what we do.
We have a special recycling project that we undertook. It started about 3 years ago when we collected glass/plastic bottles and aluminum cans and took them to a recycling center and traded them in for cash. We then sent the money to different charities and this was one way we, the kids, could help other kids worldwide. This time, we saved all our collection to feed orphans in India, when we visited there. We also asked our friends to save their recyclables and we would collect them and add to our pile. Alhamdulillah with everyone’s support we collected $300 (which is more than 20,000 Indian Rupees) in just four months! The recycling center part is so easy- we keep our recyclables separated and our mom drives it to the center. Then the people that work there sort the stuff in bins and weigh them. They give you money depending on the weight of the different materials.
When we got to Mysore, India, we fed over 200 people in an all girls orphanage and ate dinner with them as well. The food was Indian of course and they had rice, lamb korma, fried chicken and a dessert of dhal (lentils). This was surely out of the ordinary for the girls who usually get rice, lentils and sometimes veggies. We also gave them an extra treat, which was a fruit pudding. The girls were very thankful and happy. Their lives are very simple- for example, they live off of one box of belongings and sleep on a bunk with another girl under or above depending on where they sleep. They don’t have the freedom to grab a bag of chips or get a glass of milk. They don’t get to choose what they want to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just because they’re bored doesn’t mean they can watch a movie. There’s no one to share their happiness with if they get a good grade or accomplish something big, but they are still happy, content and don’t complain because they are thankful to Allah for giving them shelter, food and education. They make dua for every person who has fed them and what they want most is love and friendship. They didn’t want us to leave and were happy to show and tell us about every little thing in their lives just so that we could stay longer. They keep asking us to make dua for them and kept asking if we would come back again.
It was very shocking to see everyone’s trash – its trash that I’m talking about, stuff that we don’t even use anymore, stuff that we throw away – feed more than 200 people in the orphanage. This goes to prove that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Insha Allah we hope that Allah gives everyone lots of Baraka and Sawaab for helping us with our goal. We are also planning on doing this again even if we might not go to India so let us know if you save your recyclables and we’ll be happy to pick them up – if you are local.
You can do this project too. Just follow these easy steps: find a recycling center near you, collect bottles and cans and trade them in. Doing this will help the environment and save money. It is also very fun and empowering because you can do some simple things and get a sense of accomplishment in a big world of adults. So next time you see suffering children somewhere, you don’t have to feel like a small kid who cannot help anyone, but know that you can do something about it too!
By- Ridwan Rasheed