A Carton Carol
There once was a mean-spirited, miserly old man who refused to recycle. Sitting in his dark, cold factory, he oversaw his workers shivering and scurrying to finish the day’s work as piles of trash grew larger and larger in their factory.
His workers spent years telling him to please recycle, to simply place a recycling bin in the factory. That’s all it took! But he’d scoff and reply, “Bah! Humbug! What’s the point!”
However, one snowy night as the miserly old man was getting ready for bed, he noticed a trio of cartons sitting atop his dresser.
I don’t remember having these? Confused, he tossed them in the trash and continued onto bed.
In the depths of his sleep that night, suddenly, his bedroom lights turn on. He startles awake, peering around. Who did that?
Grumpy, confused, and dazed, he turns them off and begins to drift back to sleep.
As soon as he begins to snore, the lights turn on again. Once more, he startles awake. He looks around, tossing his blankets off to the side in order to properly inspect his bedroom. He bumps around every corner of his room, still groggy but determined to find out what nonsense is disturbing his sleep.
As he’s checking behind his dresser, he notices the trio of cartons sitting exactly where they were before. He leans in closer to the cartons, shocked at their reappearance, prodding one in the middle with his finger – and that carton hops back, squeakily exclaiming, “Hey, would you mind giving us a little space?!”
Suddenly, the other two cartons follow suit, hopping away from the old man and squeaking protests of their own.
The old man stumbles back, tripping over his own feet. “What – who – how –what are you!!”
In unison, the cartons respond, “We’re here to warn you of your future without recycling.”
Before he can say more, the three cartons have hopped to the floor where he sits, frozen in shock. They surround him and conjure up a frightening image before him: his precious factory, filled to the brim with trash, no room to walk or breathe.
“What’s wrong with my factory?!” he exclaims.
“If you don’t recycle, your factory will produce too much trash. Eventually, our earth will have nowhere to keep so much trash!” the cartons respond. “But worse, look outside.”
The image before them walks him outside of the factory – to a world spewing in debris. The town river, the town parks, the children’s’ schools, it’s all buried in piles of trash.
“This is what happens in a world where not everyone recycles. There will be nowhere to play, work, and live. Instead, we’ll be living amidst the filth we create. All you need to do is recycle your cartons, recycle your newspapers, and everything else you can!”
“This can’t be true – recycling doesn’t do anything,” the old man protests.
“Actually, yes it does. When you recycle, so much material is kept out of our landfills and is used to create useful new items. When you recycle cartons like us, we become paper towels, even ceiling tiles,” the cartons insist. “The choice is yours, though. What kind of world do you want?”
With a poof, the cartons disappear, the image conjured before him evaporates, and his bedroom returns to normal.
The very next day, the old man places a recycling bin in his factory. His workers rejoice at the sight, and slowly but surely, the once miserly old man becomes a jolly recycler.
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