Oscar the Grouch: Green before it was cool

So Heidi, how do you get to Sesame Street?

Metro meets Oscar the Grouch. Sesame Street’s beloved binman sets a noble example by reusing junk. He tells kids to recycle, but he’ll still dance in his own trash.

You’re literally very green.

Yes. It’s not easy being green.

How have you made your home, the garbage can, more environmentally friendly?

I like to call it the trash can rather than the garbage. Trash is much more important to my thinking. Garbage is something you didn’t finish eating whereas trash is wonderful things like wheels from a baby buggy or an old hubcap.

What makes recycling fun?

Well, for one thing I have this great love for trash, so it’s kinda fun to see what’s been thrown in the bin. And I sort through it. I roll in it. I toss it up and dance in it. Like, some of the lighter stuff, it floats down all over my head, so I finally have trash allllll over the booooody.

So what kinds of things do you reuse?

I like things that are, like half of a sled with no runners — that’s good trash. I reuse a lot of stuff. Of course, you have to get new food. Food is part of the problem with trash, but it’s not my greatest interest.

Are you and Slimey the Worm still into composting?

Yes, we are. Lots of stuff isn’t great to eat anymore but it’s made out of vegetation, so we throw it in with some leaves that have to be swept up anyway. We put it in a thing that’s good for composting. I was reading something interesting the other day: Many of the earthworms we have now were ones that should not have been imported from Europe and they’re quite harmful. They eat the roots of some of your vegetables.

But Slimey’s a good worm.

Yes, but we’re not sure what kind. One time he fell in love with a girl worm and she turned into a butterfly and flew away. It was heartbreaking because he was so sad but he goes in the ground and acts like an earthworm. But we don’t know what he is.

How do you explain the importance of recycling to kids?

It’s good for kids to realize that they’re all part of the community. The world is a great big community. I think a lot of kids seem to be very interested and aware that they’re part of making the world a better place.

What’s your least favorite non-recyclable product?

Batteries. They have to be disposed of very carefully. They’re not good for the environment. Those are things not to fool around with. I would find I would become an ill grouch if I ate one of those.

Was your mother also a grouch?

Oh yes, I come from a long line of grouches. I have a sister, her name is Bunny. Mom named her that just to tick her off. She’d rather have had a name like Geezelah or Grumpy, because she is, trust me, a grump.

Do you see her often?

Hopefully not, although it is kind of fun when she comes because we argue the whole time. Grouches like a good argument. I’m only worried about this because I haven’t been disagreeable enough. I guess I got out of the right side of the bed. You’re too pleasant. … And I love being miserable. That makes me happy. But I don’t like being happy, so that makes me miserable. I’m a mess. I’m a complex grouch.


Follow Heidi Patalano on Twitter at
@HeidiatMetro.


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