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This 13-year-old border collie is saving the environment, one bottle at a time

ROB SCHMITZ, HOST:

Those who think people aren't doing enough for the environment can take heart that they're receiving help.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOG BARKING)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This 13-year-old border collie is doing his part. Scruff is his name, and Scruff has collected more than 1,000 bottles over the past year for recycling in his town of Nuneaton in central England.

SCHMITZ: His humans, Yvonne and David Grant, did not think much of it when their dog first started finding and picking up bottles during their walks, but then it became a family affair.

YVONNE FAULKNER-GRANT: It was David who suggested at the end of 2021 that we maybe start collecting them 'cause he seemed to see that many, which brought our attention to it. And, yeah, he's gone from there (laughter).

INSKEEP: David Grant says there's never a shortage of bottles to collect.

DAVID GRANT: It doesn't seem to change. Society seems to just discard the bottles no matter who it is. So we could walk one route one day and go back maybe two days later and do the same route, and there's still bottles that people maybe have chucked out the car window on the side of the road.

SCHMITZ: Yvonne found Scruff in 2009.

FAULKNER-GRANT: We rescued him from a not very nice place, to be fair. He'd been kept in a rabbit hutch, and where he should be white, he was yellow from sleeping in his own wet, let's say. But, yeah, he's had a better life since (laughter).

INSKEEP: Scruff's bottle patrols are continuing in the new year.

GRANT: The only difference is, we think, is we're not going to store the bottles all year. We'll still bring them home, try and keep account of them as well but just recycling them on a daily basis.

SCHMITZ: While Scruff likes collecting bottles, the hope is that one day he'll need a new passion.

FAULKNER-GRANT: It would also be nice if he didn't find one bottle (laughter).

GRANT: Yeah.

FAULKNER-GRANT: He wouldn't be happy 'cause it'd take away his fun. But at least the streets would be clean (laughter).

GRANT: Yes, yes.

INSKEEP: If that ever happens, other towns might use his help. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.