Author: Desislava Georgieva

On Christmas Eve, a citizen called the OCSD office. I was there at the time and took the call. He had learned about us from the Internet. In his brief introduction in our style (understand without even introducing himself) he told us that he had collected 3 thousand beer cans. His question was whether we would buy them back for him.

I answered him that we work for charity, we don’t buy waste, we collect it for a cause. However, I most politely explained to him that if he wanted to get money for the beer cans he collected, he should take them to one of the recycling stations. I should make it clear here that that’s just what we call them. In fact, they are, by their very function, waste collection and separation points. The actual recycling takes place in various plants.

But to return to our case. As soon as I mentioned recycling, I heard in the earpiece:

– Yes, yes, but they tell me that the cans are metal and they don’t want to redeem them for aluminum.

– That’s because there really are cans made of aluminum and ones made of sheet metal – I reply.

– ‘Mine are Zagorka and they are aluminium,’ the man opposite continued.

This is where I confess that even when I hold them in my hand I find it hard to tell the difference too, so I confine myself to:

– Well, I can’t tell you that over the phone, after all, recycling centres understand their job.

– Yes, yes, but they tell me they’re tin, and they’re aluminium,” my interlocutor continues.

Apparently you were referring to our “Bring a bottle, take a book” campaign. I said that we have a campaign where you get a book for a leu, and the can is just a gesture of environmental protection, and that we don’t actually buy can. Our campaigns are charitable, we raise money for the environment. If someone wants to get money, they have to take it to the recycling centre.

– But they tell me they’re metal, not aluminum…

If you are wondering at my interlocutor’s persistence, I explain that aluminium cans hold a higher market price than tin cans made of so-called stainless steel, and of course are priced far lower than the pure aluminium that is bought from these same centres.

– I’d better throw them in the garbage!” my interlocutor continued.

– If you are going to throw them in the garbage, give them to us!

– Why?

– To donate them. You will throw them anyway. If you donate them, you will do something good!

There was a sound of a break in the conversation and silence.

Well, we had a good chat. Conversations like this are common in my practice. They are driven by the old concept that people view waste as a secondary raw material, something from which they can make a business and make money. Maybe, maybe not! One thing is for sure – once you start looking at a waste as a commodity, market principles start working for it. You may or may not be able to deal with them! I don’t wish it on you. What I hope for is always somewhere out there in the extremities of consciousness – that you keep your nobility. Because what is worthless to you may be gold to another.


Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations

The project “Improving public knowledge about the role of Civil Society Organizations” shall be implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism. The main goal of the project is to improve citizens’ awareness of the role of non-governmental organizations in society. This material is established with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The whole responsibility for the content of the document is held by the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development and under no circumstances can this material be considered to reflect the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Active Citizens Fund of Bulgaria.