How do you say recycling in Armenian? Quechua? Tetum? Singhalese?

The venue at a recent conference I attended – along with participants from all over the developing world – did not have recycling facilities. Taking a “do it yourself” attitude, I set up a small recycling center with trash cans marked as “recycling only” and included information on recycling in the morning announcements.

So why were were there paper plates, styrofoam cups, empty sugar packets and such in the recycling only containers?

Why? Because recycling not necessarily a universally understood concept (as I only realized after the second day). It was important to not only point out the recycling places but to take an additional 30 seconds to explain what that means. Lesson learned.


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