Do you have that one place that makes you happy which other people would consider weird? Well, I am one of those people with such a place. I remember telling a colleague about mine, and he gave me this side look that totally said, “you are strange,” then he moved away a little bit, and I am sure it wasn’t my imagination. Before I go rambling on, let me tell you mine. (Drumroll) It’s a dumpsite! Don’t start giving me the side look yet. Hear me out.

When you picture a dumpsite (not a pretty picture, I know), what do you see? You see the heap of rubbish, the rot, the flies… You can almost smell it, right? My bad. This is what I see when I visit a dumpsite. I see the vast land of resources going to waste, money and someone’s means of livelihood going up in flames. I see power supply wafting into our atmosphere as gas. These pictures make me sad (life and its way of striking a balance).

Now, over to the parts that make it my happy place. Have you seen those guys with big sacks and long iron prongs sifting through wastes in your surroundings to collect materials? Silly question, of course, you have. Picture those guys (bear with me) hundreds and thousands of them going through a dumpsite to collect papers, plastics, cartons and cardboards, metals, glass, batteries and the likes. This is called waste recovery by the way. The goal of these guys is to sell these recovered materials. What they do not know is the huge impact they are having on our environment and us.

The reality is we are harvesting from finite resources to produce goods and services. While these resources will not run out in our time, our great-grandchildren might not be so lucky. I’m not trying to be a prophet of doom here. Calm down. This brings me back to the reason those guys’ work is significant. The materials they recover can be processed to produce either the original product or another product entirely. This process is called recycling. It reduces the amount of natural resources we harvest, reduces energy consumption in our production process, the volume of materials that are lost and burnt in our dumpsites lowers, and opens up an industry for us – the recycling industry. Think of the employment possibilities.

So when I visit a dumpsite and go to the waste recovery section, the smell fades, the flies do not bother me so much (I hate flies), and I do not see the dirt. All I see are the possibilities outlined in the paragraph above, and it makes me happy. Very happy! And that is what makes it my weird happy place. Let me know your weird happy place in the comment section.