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Cycling and Recycling

by Mike Vogel / Washington Capitals
On the ice, Caps winger Matt Bradley can often be seen cycling the puck in the offensive zone. His speed enables him to get in on the forecheck and collect loose pucks, and his size enables him to win battles down low, protect the disk and churn it around the wall in a cycling merry-go-round with his linemates.

Off the ice, Bradley has taken to a different type of cycling, specifically recycling. Noting that the Caps did not recycle water and other plastic bottles, Bradley got some recycling bins for the team’s locker room at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, and he even offered to drive the recyclables to a recycling facility.

“I think it’s something I came by a little bit later in life,” says Bradley when queried about his recycling bent. “There seems to be a lot more movies and books about it and it kind of makes you wonder what’s really going on. My fiancée is actually big into the environment, period. It’s really something that everyone should be thinking about. Any little thing you can do might seem like something small, but if everyone could do those things it would add up to a big thing.”

Bradley’s stance on the environment is not limited to bringing a couple of containers into the Caps’ locker room. He tries to aid the environment in other ways as well.

“I don’t do anything extreme,” he says. “I do relatively easy things that everyone can do. I drive a hybrid, which is a little bit better for the environment. I try to recycle as much as possible. Even little things like when I shower I turn the water off while I’m soaping up. Things like that are small things, but if everyone does them they add up to bigger things.”

Driving hybrid cars is another thing individuals can do to help the environment, and Bradley has taken that step, too.

“I have the Lexus GS 450h which is their hybrid for that size,” he says. “You don’t even notice it’s a hybrid when you’re driving it. It just drives like a regular car. But you get a lot better gas mileage in the city with the stop and go traffic. On the highway it’s about the same mileage as a gas car. But in the city you use the electric more and you save. It’s also low emissions, too.

“It recharges itself. You just drive it like a regular car. You get in, turn your key and go. There’s no plugging it in or anything like that. The only downfall is the trunk is a little smaller, because that’s where the batteries are. Other than that, it’s a regular car and I really enjoy it.”

Bradley doesn’t go around preaching to people about the environment, but if you talk to him a bit, you can tell he gets rankled by those who blindly walk through life without an eye to the future of planet Earth.

“Things like recycling are easy things,” he states. “It amazes me sometimes how many companies and malls and places like that don’t do recycling. Even us, we use a lot of water bottles and we weren’t recycling. So I just got a couple of recycle bins. It’s an easy thing, It’s just like throwing it in the garbage but you’re throwing it in a bin for recycling. Sometimes it bothers me a bit. It’s big companies, malls and people, too that don’t do that. It’s something that’s so simple, you don’t have to change anything in your life. You throw it in one different box. Doing this within our room will probably cut down on three-quarters of our garbage, because it’s all bottles.”

Bradley grew up outside of Ottawa in a town called Stittsville. He believes those in his native country are a little more forward thinking in the ways of recycling.

“I think the U.S. is a little bit behind Canada in the recycling department,” declares Bradley. “I’m not saying Canada is perfect, but every house has their blue box and their black box which is for cardboard and papers. It would be rare to see a house in Canada that doesn’t have both of those boxes out when it comes time to pick them up. Even things like beer bottles. I notice that in the U.S. they throw their beer bottles in the garbage. In Canada, we recycle our beer bottles. Just think of how many beers you drank and how much of that goes into landfills.

“I’m not an extremist. I don’t want people to stop driving or anything. But if you can take the Metro or maybe walk or ride your bike or something, little things like that help.”

As you might imagine, some of his teammates make light of Bradley’s passion for the environment. He takes a fair share of grief because of his beliefs, but the Caps right winger is okay with that.

“The guys get on my case,” he admits. “They’ll give me the gears a bit, but they’re doing it in a joking manner. They also all throw their bottles in recycling. I don’t mind taking a little bit of heat. All the guys have been great about throwing their bottles in. They all seem to care, too. To me, for somebody not to care about that is really stupid. It’s really short-sighted.”
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