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A new twist to litter coverage: Pick Up Your Path to examine recycling … a chance meeting with Wes

Some Wednesdays I watch this guy lug my recycle bins to the back of his truck. I wonder where it goes and what happens to it. It's time to find out.

Virtually every bit of trash and litter I collect goes into recycle bins. Most of it, if not every last piece, should be recycled. At least I hope the debris is treated as reusable.


As a former news guy, I’m chagrined that more angles, tangents and spinoffs of litter control haven’t been pursued.

Hopefully that is about to change.

I intend to send a note to Charlotte’s Solid Waste Management department asking to visit their recycling center(s). We all deserve to see how so-called recyclables are actually recycled; where does the material from our bins go, who laboriously sorts through it and how much actually is reused.

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Some Wednesdays I watch this guy lug my recycle bins to the back of his truck. I wonder where the litter goes and what happens to it. It’s time to find out.

If the department grants me access, there should be a plethora of varying news items and photos that come out of the visit.

I mean, it’s one thing to corral litter along our walkways and streets but it’s quite another thing entirely to see the bounty you pick up actually work its way through the belly of the recycle process beast into another serviceable product.

So we’ll see where things go from here. As they say, ‘Stay tuned.’


I’ve wondered in prior posts if someone was beating me to the punch – that’s said in a good way – in terms of trash and litter collection along my daily path. Some days there are stretches that look a little too clean, a little too tidy.

Finally, I have my answer. It’s a guy named Wes.

I wasn’t 300 yards into yesterday’s walk when a man is seen walking towards me along Sharon View Road. What’s in his hands is unmistakeable: plastic. And there’s only one reason for the fistfuls of junk: he picked it up.

Since I had a bag and this good samaritan didn’t, the offer was made for him to dump his haul into my bag. We introduced ourselves – his name is Wes – and talked to each other for a moment. He’s since become a Pick Up Your Path subscriber.

It’s great to have him on board. Now, if we could only enlist another few thousand like him …

About Dave Bradley (264 Articles)
I was a writer by trade so one would think letters would come easily for me. It is so now, but wasn't always that way. Indeed, the first letter was written the Monday after Ellen started her freshman year in college. For years I've wondered - with no good answers - why I swiveled my office chair toward my computer screen to fire up a word processing document for that first letter. I just don't know. I just did. Perhaps it was the angst of separation or wanting to say things that had gone unsaid at that moment when we parted ways in front of her college dormitory. What was a one-off became habitual. When her brother Reid enrolled in the same college, his name was added to the salutation line. They were kids then and are adults now. No matter. The letter writing habit remains so today. I live in Brevard, North Carolina. I'm well away from where they live and don't see them nearly as often as I'd like. That's why letters, at least to me, fill the void of distance. The pages give me something to say and the space to say it. There is no assurance they read the letters; indeed, I have never asked if they do so. With the pace of their busy lives who could blame them for letting a letter sit unopened? Over time, it has dawned on me that the letters are both communicative - and cathartic. By nature, letters are about the writer; the writer can only write about their situation. Perhaps that is as it should be. It's all about the here and now from one person's perspective.

1 Comment on A new twist to litter coverage: Pick Up Your Path to examine recycling … a chance meeting with Wes

  1. Happy to do my part! I look forward to hearing how your recycling investigation goes. And, surprise, I’m a former news guy, too!

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