My first job

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peterdannock  •  21 Jun 2022   •  

In the days before plastic bottles and council recycle bins, recycling glass bottles was a profitable business for the local Scout groups. It was common practice back then for glass bottles to be collected, cleaned and refilled, a tangible demonstration of how to recycle.

Beer bottles were the most valuable to recycle. So scout groups would run a “bottle drive” where they would collect beer bottles from the neighbourhood houses and stack them up alongside the Scout Hall, ready to be collected by the recycler. The Scout group didn’t get paid much, but it was an excellent fundraiser to help them buy camping equipment.

At fourteen, my first-weekend job was working for the recycler, working long days travelling around to the different Scout halls, stacking the bottles into crates and loading them onto the truck. It was physically demanding work, and I got paid $15.00 for an honest day’s work.

The job came with its risks. There were many broken bottles, and I often drew blood during my working day. Occasionally a gash may require a bit more attention when a band-aid wasn’t enough. There were few, if any, occupational health and safety rules back then. In hindsight, we should have taken a few more precautions.

Now that every home has a recycling bin, recycling has become more accessible. I loved that job and have fond memories of a great boss.

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