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At our new house our waste management company gave us three cans – one for regular ol’ trash, another for yard waste, and a third for recycling. This struck me as pretty sophisticated because at our old place we just threw everything down the trash chute, environment be damned. I immediately vowed to make a real effort to be more responsible with our trash, and set up two cans under our sink – one for regular trash, and one for recycling. Before long I was feeling pretty awesome about myself.

“I don’t want to overstate the significance of what we’re doing,” I told Heather. “But we’re basically saving the world here.”

“Settle down, big guy. We’re just recycling.”

“And the world thanks us, Heather. THE ENTIRE WORLD.”

The next night at dinner with Heather’s parents I may have bragged about the whole “Saving The World” bit. That’s when Heather’s Dad mentioned that he also recycled.

“You can make a little money doing it too,” he said. “Especially the way you drink Diet Coke.”

A light bulb went off over my head. As you know, I am a big fan of Diet Coke, and go through a can or a thousand. While saving the world is cool and all, making money is even cooler!

The next day I began collecting my soda cans in trash bags in the kitchen. This, as you can imagine, did not go over well with Heather, and after a few days she ordered me to move my “stinky bags” into the garage.

“These aren’t stinky bags,” I snarled as I carried them away. “These are an investment! Like a 401k!”

It was then the trash bags broke and sent soda cans rolling across our kitchen floor.

“Pick up your investment,” Heather sighed. “Before it stains our floors.”

In the garage I switched my cans into Glad bags, and they did a much better job of holding my quickly growing collection. “This IS an investment,” I thought. “Heather will thank me later!”

I soon became a bit obsessed with this whole recycling thing. I not only started to pick up cans at the playground, but at night I even found myself thinking, “I’m not exactly thirsty, but if I drink just one more  soda that will get me one can closer to untold riches!” And then I’d be forcing down a soda at 11 p.m. This lead to me peeing in the middle of the night so regularly that Heather asked me if I was pregnant.

Eventually my hard work paid off and I had four large, stuffed-to-the-gills Glad bags.  I crammed them into my car and headed down to the recycling center. On the way I fantasized about what I would do with all money my cans would make me.

“Maybe I will get Heather diamond earrings for Christmas,” I thought. “She’d like that.”

I could barely contain my excitement as the guy calculated my earnings and told me my cans were worth…. 13 bucks.

Yeah. 13 bucks.

You know what though? I was totally fine with that. Because I don’t recycle for the money. I do it to save the world. THE ENTIRE WORLD.