Friday, November 14, 2008

America Recycles Day

As promised I have a very special post for today.

My own recycling mentor, Linda, is guest posting on my blog.

She has recently launched her own blog, How to Be Green in Greenville, and wrote this great post on the positive impact recylcing can have not only on our planet, but on your own life.

So I hope you enjoy her post and go check out her blog for more great recylcing and green living tips and encouragement.

Lately I have been reading some very negative view points about recycling and how it really doesn't save much of anything. Some nay sayers comment on how much contamination goes into recycling facilities and ends up costing more time and effort than its worth. For example, a contriband plastic bag or shredded paper gets caught in the machine, and it causes the facility hours of work to free up the trapped waste, costing the facility more money than they will ever receive.

Other negative views state that the companies that sell us products packaged in all these containers that need to be recycled, are footing the responsibility to us, the consumers, to clean up their mess. They say, "don't recycle," then maybe these companies will take more responsibility for their messes.

I say this. A lot of people can spend a lot of time griping and arguing about many details pertaining to recycling. One could spin endlessly trying to decided, "should I, or shouldn't I," and never get a black and white answer. Like everything, the system is not perfect. There is contamination in recycling facilities, and people do waste a lot of time and money dealing with the "glitches".

I don't think, however, that these negative friends are taking into consideration the ripple effect that recycling can have on a person's life. By choosing to take action, and to "just start," despite all things that point to why you shouldn't, you will make a difference - for the planet, for yourself, and for others.

Personally, I can attest to this. Our recycling has had profound effects on our lives. We became more mindful of the waste in our lives, and of our own indifference. We live, as Americans, a very shallow, consumeristic lifestyle that says, "it's ok if it's not just right, or too old, or broken, or just outdated - throw it out. You can always get something else". Just seeing the mountain of "trash" that would have been going into our trash cans, was enough to give us pause. "Where is all of this cardboard coming from?" We had no idea that we threw out so much cardboard. "Are we really buying all this stuff?" Lots of children's things are packaged to death, with lots of excess cardboard.

Another example of this was with the cans. "Why are there so many cans? When did we stop eating real food? What does "fresh" taste like? What does our money support if we are not buying locally? Are our eating habits supporting unethical practices abroad?"

Well, I could talk a lot here about this road, but I will keep it short as not to sound too preachy. That's not my intent. Here is a little of our road. Recycling led to less spending... led to realization of consumeristic lifestyle... led to putting God back into first place in our lives... led to releasing our money to God... led to giving like never before... led to relief of poverty over seas and locally ...led to greater desire to give... led to realizing how our actions impact the poor globally... led to wanting to change more...led to composting...led to gardening... led to desire to can our own food... led to greater thankful perspective on the bounty that the earth provides us all... I could go on.

The point, recycling is so much bigger than the actual act. It's that, plus a lot more. Then, when you add the other two Rs of Reduce and Reuse, the impact is even greater. December will be the end of our year of buying nothing new. Another result of the road afore mentioned. Our spending is unrecognizable. We reuse more, and we reduce our trash just by buying less- less packaging.

Yes there are problems with recycling. Yes you could argue that it's not worth it when you throw in all the glitches. But when you look at the global picture of the change that occurs within yourself and your actions, and the impact that you have on friends, family, and biggest of all, your children, there is no question that it is effective, transformative, and in fact, DOES make a difference.

And if you don't buy any of that, buy this---It's just the right thing to do. We don't trash our homes, why would we trash God's earth, the very thing that gives us life and sustains us?

Please join with people all over our great country and make November 15th, America Recycles Day, the day that you begin your journey on your own road. See for yourself what a difference you can make!

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