I came across these 10 recycling habits written by my friend, Ryan, and I wanted to share it with you all. He granted me permission to share it with you all. Some of the ideas may not be new, but may this challenge refresh and encourage you to keep up the work! Thanks Ryan!
You should be all about recycling. If you’re a Christian you should be especially passionate about recycling.
Consider the fact that in recycling you are taking something that is spent, used up, and old, and giving it new life, purpose, and usefulness.
As Randy Alcorn shares: “Psalms 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This is not our place to trash. It’s God’s place to treasure. To care for the world is to care for its people. To care for its people is to fulfill the second commandment, to love our neighbors as ourselves. As we see it mandated in Genesis 1:28, God entrusts us with the earth as He entrusts us with our bodies, and He intends for us to take care of both.”
As a follower of Jesus, listed below are some of the ways both big and small that I think the invitation to recycle is available. It is obviously in no way an exhaustive list, and neither is it listed in any particular order. So without further adieu here are my top ten recycling habits:
If you don’t have chickens to give your old scraps to (and thus produce eggs and great fertilizer), then get a compost pile so that your old food will turn into rich soil. Also, using old veggies (flimsy celery and carrots, onion skins, etc) and animal bones to make stock is a great way to recycle stuff that you will not eat.
There are some pretty amazing ways you can recycle water. You can collect the water from the bathroom sink in a bucket and use that bucket to flush the toilet. Other creative ideas include collecting water from dishwashers and washing machines drained out to use for gardening, etc. Personally, I don’t do that stuff, but I do collect our rain water and use it to water the garden! I do use my kids kiddie pool water to water my plants (instead of dumping it every few days). Next time you’re about to dump out the remains of your glass of water, dump it in your houseplant instead.
You can buy cloth bags for grocery shopping. We do. But we also forget to use them as often as we remember. So if you have to do the unthinkable (haha) and use plastic shopping bags, they work great as your new garbage can liners. We have nor purchased garbage bags in years because we just use these from our local supermarket. Sure you have to empty the garbage a bit more often, but it’ll shave a few bucks off your grocery bill and it will put those bags back to use. These bags can also be recycled at most grocery stores.
Buy locally. If you buy locally from local businesses and local owners and local shops and local food and…then your money stays in the community you love. The money you use to buy your kids a birthday present will go to a local family who owns the local toy shop that employs local individuals who buy things from their local supermarket who…etc. When you spend and shop locally, your money is recycled within your community to grow and develop the community you love.
Buy from used clothing stores. Give your old clothes to others. Old clothes can also be quite useful for household projects! I grew up with a giant canvas tent for camping. The tent bag for our giant tent was a pair of my dads old jeans. The pockets were where the stakes were kept, the tent slid into the legs (that had been sewed together into one large space), and a drawstring was put through the belt loops. My wife has made purses out of old t-shirts, hats out of old sweaters, skirts out of old shirts, etc. Put those old clothes to work.
Ok, this is a bit of a stretch, but if we change our behaviors so that our travel accomplishes more than getting us from A to B then we are creating more out of something than previously existed. If you ride your bike, not only are you cutting down on emissions and traffic, but you’re also exercising at the same time. If you take the bus, you’re also being able to read or work on homework. If you carpool, your also creating community and relationship.
Even in your death you can allow life to emerge by being an organ donor. Don’t hold out, you won’t need your heart anymore, so give it away.
We American’s love our grass. Our yards can be so much more than pretty grass, instead we can make them work for us by building garden plots, by growing strawberries and lettuces where grass might have been before. Get some chickens, grow some blueberries or grapes, allow your yard to do something for you, to be useful, and to bring more to your life.
I love books. I hate borrowing them, I love owning them. But as I work to get over my ownership mentality I’m seeing that not only is borrowing books from the library a great recycling practice, but loaning your books out to others and borrowing others books is a great way to let books have a greater life than the shelf. How cool would it be if we began to loan our books out and asked people to mark them up, highlight them, and jot down notes in the margins so that when you got the book back it would carry with it some of the life of the previous reader! Check out your library’s inter-library loan program to find practically any book you may desire. If you must buy a book, buy it used through Amazon, Powell’s Books, and many more sources.
This one should be redundant in our culture, but don’t use paper. Read your newspaper or magazine online. Use email instead of snail mail. Cut down on your junk mail by opting out. Opt out from getting those obsolete phone books as well. Setup your bills so that you don’t receive hard copies but only electronic copies. Dare I say buy a Kindle? Ok, I’m not ready to go there yet, but it’s probably inevitable!
I’m certain there are many other creative ways to recycle. Spend a few hours on Etsy.com and let your brain cram all the amazing and creative ways to recycle old materials. Shop at recycled stores, shop less, etc. There are so many ways we can embrace the beautiful opportunity to be a part of giving old, spent, and used up things new life and purpose. I mean, isn’t this what God does with humanity? Why should we do anything different?