Crying Indian and Recycling


Do you remember this commercial? If you grew up in the 70s and watched TV, it’s part of your consciousness. But have you really done anything about it either personally or on a large scale? I think our society has done a lot, but we’re also still lagging both on personal and national scales.

I know it’s weird to say this, but recycling and composting is a spiritual discipline for our family. That will make sense to some. For others that are squinting their eyes and cocking their heads, consider this: spiritual disciplines don’t all happen on your rear with a book laid across your lap. In fact, most don’t.

Brother Lawrence found spiritual meaning in the mundane and normal of life. Recycling and composting both helps us reflect on our consumption and also do our part to help tend God’s creation.

Recycling is a hassle that we don’t do for ourselves. We don’t make any money from it. It’s a chore that we all pitch in to do, and we do it for the sake of God’s creation that we are called to tend and restore, not constantly consume.

We have a friend in Nashville who works for a school and encourages recycling by having a company keep bins at the schools and giving part of the profits to the school. She manages the children in the lunchroom to divide all the garbage into categories and gets children and parents to help work Saturdays when the community comes up to recycle.

It was this friend who converted our family to recycling. After composting kitchen scraps and recycling, we typically have two bags of regular trash a week for a family of five and the rest goes into recycling.

Today’s recycling from approximately one month of collecting:

45 pounds of newspaper, magazines

6 pounds of glass (mostly spaghetti/pizza sauce, one jar of Durango, Colorado honey)

5 pounds of plastic (milk jugs, soda, etc.)

15 pounds of cardboard

2 pounds of tin cans

3 pounds of aluminum cans

The bulk of this fills up our van with seats down, about a dozen bags that garbage collectors don’t have to fool with, that stays out of landfills, and that recycle into products and save using new resources.

Are you constantly consuming and throwing away without a care? I used to but will no longer.

6 comments on “Crying Indian and Recycling

  1. I casually dropped by expecting to find no new posts and, BAM! I find a well-crafted challenge to change yet another facet of my comfortable existence.
    Thanks alot Greg!

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  2. Greg, I just sort of found your blog again after a long absence.

    I’m so glad you’re writing about recycling! I’m so glad you’re recycling!

    Growing up in the country, with an organic gardening dad, and then living in Europe where we washed and reused our Ziploc bags, have resulted in a me that truly feels ill that so many people (esp. Christians!) don’t recycle/reduce/reuse. I don’t see how anyone can sing “This Is My Father’s World” and not try to take care of it in this very simple way.

    Thanks. God bless you…..Sheila V.

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  3. Gilatto, I’m not sure exactly what your “good grief” is about, and what you are questioning. But here is my guess at clarifying what may not have been clear from my comment…I didn’t mean that Christians are less prone to recycle than other people. I meant that it is especially hard for me to understand why Christians, of all people, would not recycle. And I know many who don’t, and seem not to be interested when the topic comes up.

    If you still say good grief, then I really don’t know what you’re good griefing about!

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  4. Hey I love this article, as I recycle whenever I can. I wanted to post this for yourself, and all your readers. I wrote a post about it in my own blog you may want to pass on, but in case you don’t. There is a large network out there called FREECYCLE http://www.freecycle.org/
    Everything from old printers, televisions, furniture, clothing, toys, plastic containers, glass jars. You name it people are offering these items for others who may want them. It’s a great way to give away items you have. Check it out! Best of all it’s free, and helps to make saving our planet from turning into a wasteland a little easier. Thank you.

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