Oliver Berger holding up a fellow recycler's creation. Photo: Oliver Berger
Oliver Berger holding up a fellow recycler’s creation. Photo: Oliver Berger

By Oliver Berger — 


Converting waste into reusable material – recycling – some people do it, others don’t. It is a choice, like so many things in life. I’ve been to parts of the world, (South-East Asia, Spain, Eastern Europe) where recycling isn’t even in the vocabulary and littering is the normal thing to do. Yet in Switzerland or Japan, recycling is the only option for your waste.

Why do some parts of the world care so much and others don’t have the knowledge or resources to participate? That is a global question. As a “Laker,” I ask, “Where do we stand?”

I am proud of how many places we have today, compared to ten years ago, to deposit our paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metals, Styrofoam, wood scraps, compost, and other materials. For people within city limits, the blue bins make it very easy to sort recyclables from garbage. And for our outlying residents, we have many cleanly operated recycling stations throughout the Cariboo Regional District (CRD). Surely, with all these resources and our knowledge, every single citizen in and around Williams Lake is on board and diligently sorts out their trash, right? Not yet. So, we are back to choice.

I often wonder how one can choose to keep life balanced. We can go on about the topic of balancing our playtime with our work schedule, but I’m talking about recycling here. I believe we need to make a conscious choice to try and complement our use of products with our disposal of products. If I think about the impact I put on this Earth everyday… driving, staying warm in my home, consuming water, turning on a light bulb, throwing out garbage, etc., how much of that do I actually give back?

To honestly give back as much as I take sounds like an impossibility. There is only one answer to “I can’t” and that is to start, little by little, changing our habits to give back to the earth what we can.

Recycling is a great start. I quickly noticed a vast reduction of the volume of garbage in my trash bin. Next I collected my food scraps and used the compost in my garden. At home, more and more, I wondered why I threw some things away that, with a little creativity, are perfectly usable for a second time. Dresser drawers can become planters, old skis can serve as part of a fence—okay, maybe that one is not for everybody … or scraps from a renovation project can become amazing bird- or doghouses. The possibilities become endless!

Just like a dead tree becomes nutrients for decades of years for fresh fauna, we, too, can spring new life into an old product by recycling!


Oliver has a 33-year degree in life, starting out in the Spokin Lake area, spending adolescence in Williams Lake, and then venturing throughout the world on a quest of always learning new things. After spending a summer working at the recycling facility in Williams Lake last year, his priorities include dedication to and education about waste management.


Leave A Reply