Recycling tins
Photo by Ally McGurk
I love recycling! My eyes sparkle when I see labeled containers of paper, bottles, and folded boxes. I prefer collecting and organizing art supplies, but cardboard boxes and soup cans will do.

Tuesday morning, I fetched an ice-cold  diet Pepsi and loaded up our SUV.  I drove twenty twisty minutes to the transfer station, bobbing my head to outdated techno.  I waved to the regulars as I pulled up.

At the recycle center, I dumped everything into the single stream recycling pit. The bulldozer guy in the pit waved and hollered unintelligible greetings. I gestured in kind.  Replacing containers in my car, I parked in the adjoining lot. Now the real fun began.

Our Recycling Center features a section for used books and home goods. On quiet mornings, I remove dusty books from boxes and load them on to book shelves. I am rarely ambitious enough to sort books by categories, but sometimes I do.

Ah, books, how I love them! Esoteric hobby books bearing cryptic diagrams delight me.  I also adore old Time Life Science Library Books (we had a set when I was a kid). Strange manifestos are a must, and so are annotated prayer books. All of these  books are a pleasure to look at or to deconstruct for collage.

I put in my earplugs and began my search for offbeat books. Somewhere, strange, lonely books waited for me to rescue them. At home, I would clean them and sort them into mildew treatment boxes. Special books would end up in my art room. Others would be archived.

Every now and then, something extraordinary appears. This week I found a complete 1911 set of The Book of Knowledge encyclopedias. These odd volumes are essay collections for children. The subjects are not arranged alphabetically, or logically. However, the collection is charming, and well written. I snapped it up. It was amazing to have such luck!

After I loaded up my volumes, I inspected them further.  The spines were a bit faded, but the inside pages sparkled.   I sniffed a  volume. No mildew! The Holy Grail of recycling treasures–old books that don’t smell like a moldy crypt! Best haul ever! 🙂

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