Ken Wardroper hasn’t taken out his trash since December of 2015.
The 75-year-old Oaklands resident is so adept at recycling, he finds a piece of foam buried in the half empty trash bin that’s been sitting under his sink for nearly three years.
“See, even this piece of foam shouldn’t go in there,” he says as he rescues it. “I take these down to the bottle depot with the plastic bags … and the bottles I collect.”
While Wardroper says it’s easy to be conscious about the packaging you buy and how to recycle most of the packaging that comes into your home, don’t look to him as an environmental model.
To understand why Wardroper is so prudent in his recycling is more a matter of understanding what makes him tick. In one series of sentences he explains his environmental consciousness is steeped in his work ethic. And to be transparent, his black Victoria trash bin does go out to the curb once in a while, but that’s only when there’s a couple of extra bags of garbage from his daughter’s nearby daycare.
“I don’t care what other people do. I don’t want to get into any controversy. It’s not for me. I’m just blessed. I don’t know how I became so blessed, with a home for me, a home for my daughter and granddaughters down the block. But you have to work, you have to have a hard work ethic.”
Wardroper also collects bottles from blue bins on recycling days. He puts all the money he earns from bottle collections towards his grandchildren’ educations.
“I was out last night, I got $45 in bottles, and this morning I collected another $5 on the way back from walking my granddaughter to school. The account is in the thousands now.
“I’ll take my neighbours compost to the [public works] yard, I weed the streets in the neighbourhood, I take all our compost to the dump. I work hard.”