Recycling Superheroes by Celine Houenou

America Recycles Day Icon 2015America Recycles Day 2015 Essay Contest Winner – Elementary/Middle School Category

BAM! The trash can banged open as Aluminum Can Allison came face to face with Garbage Grace.
“What are you gonna do?” she taunted Allison with a sneer.
Allison kept quiet. She was supposed to be stalling and she was determined to carry out her plan. Allison was not about to let Grace’s trash talk get to her. (No pun intended)
“Soooo, how’s the weather we’ve been having? Getting kinda windy huh?” Allison tried.
Garbage grace just rolled her eyes.
Quickly but quietly, Paper Pete, Cardboard Callie, and Plastic Bottle Polly snuck up behind the trash can and tried to carve a hole in it, big enough to fit about twenty wrongly placed recyclable items. I, Clean Celine, was Aluminum Can Allison’s trusty sidekick. My job was to supervise, enforce Allison’s rules, and in this case clean off the items that may be covered in whatever was in that revolting trash can.
It was Tuesday, trash day, and time was running out.
The only tool that we could find that was sufficient enough to at least make a dent in the trash can, was a butter knife, and it seemed like it would take forever to carve a hole with it, but with a little elbow grease and a lot of diligence, we could make it work. Panicked, I grabbed the butt of the knife and helped the others push. Finally, without warning the knife cut through the trash can and Pete, Callie, Polly, and I fell forward.
“Yoooouuuch!” someone yelled.
Obviously he had been poked. Thank goodness the knife wasn’t sharp.
Hastily, we worked together to carve out the hole. Although it took forever, we finally finished, and all of the papers, shoeboxes, water bottles, soda cans, soap containers, food cans, and food packaging, came tumbling out with a loud BONK!
Noticing all the noise and commotion, Aluminum Can Allison abandoned her job and immediately barked out orders:
“ Clean Celine, you get a baby wipe and wipe all of the food and waste off of the dirty items! Paper Pete, you get the papers to the paper bin! Cardboard Callie, you get all the shoeboxes and food packaging to the cardboard bin! And Plastic Bottle Polly, you get all the water bottles and soap containers to the plastic bin! I will take care of the soda and food cans!”
After that Garbage Grace (who wasn’t all too bright) finally noticed what was going on. She made a weak attempt to put an end to it, but failed. She was outnumbered.
As everyone rushed to do his or her duties, I noticed Grace out of the corner of my eye. She had a sad–almost ashamed–look on her face.
“ I wish I hadn’t taken all of those reusable items hostage.” She thought. “ I knew that they could end up in landfills and that they could’ve been used for other things, but I didn’t care.”
Grace knew the right thing to do. Slowly, but surely Grace mustered up the courage to help save the recyclable items. Everyone was astonished, no doubt, but they didn’t have time to stop and stare. They could hear the garbage truck rumbling up the street.
Swiftly, the gang plus Grace wrapped things up, with the items all safely in their bins.
As the garbage truck came and went, everyone, even Garbage Grace, had to admit that they were glad that everybody was safe and sound. Right then and there Grace changed her name from Garbage Grace to Gracious Grace, and from now on she would be sure to recycle.

Name: Celine Nkem Houenou

Grade: 5th grade

School: Pharr Elementary School