Refusing and Recycling
-- It's Our Responsibility
Stewardship of God's earth means not wasting what comes from it: For many people, accumulating
possessions has become a way of life. But remember the rich fool, who stored up grain and goods
for many years? All his possessions did him no good when death came. We are often so busy consuming
that we forget that our true wealth lies in our relationship with God. Meanwhile, the burden of
the refuse we leave behind falls upon our children.
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children.
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.
Impacts of Consumer Society
- If all the world's people lived like today's North Americans, it would take two additional
planet Earths' to produce enough resources and to absorb the wastes. 1
- Each American produces about 4.3 pounds of trash every day. The total waste generated
by Americans every day fills 63,000 garbage trucks. 2
- Reducing waste and recycling saves energy and slows global warming, it also reduces
water pollution, acid rain and the soil erosion caused by logging. 3
Support Buy Nothing Day
The day after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping day of the year. Do your part to reduce
consumption! Support "Buy Nothing Day" -- a 24-hour moratorium on consumer spending.
- It takes an entire forest (over 550,000 trees) to supply Americans with one Sunday's
- Nearly 750,000 photocopies a minute were made in the US in 1991. 5
- By 2010, world paper and paperboard consumption is expected to increase 90% from 1993,
to 528 million tons. 6
- Every ton of high quality recycled paper saves 17 trees. It also saves 7,000 gallons
of water and 60 pounds of air pollution. 7
- Every three months, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial
- If we recycled one-tenth of the cans we now throw away, we'd save about 3.2 billion
cans a year. 10
- You can make 20 recycled aluminum vans with the energy it takes to make one new can.
- A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces it's air and water pollution and mining wastes
by about 70%. 12
- In 1960, 54% of beer in the US was sold in refillable bottles; by 1990 the figure had
decreased to only about 75%. 13
- A ton of glass from raw materials creates 384 pounds of mining waste, and uses one
ton of other resources, including sand, soda ash, and limestone. 14
- The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will light a 100-watt bulb for four
- Five recycled soft drink bottles make enough fiberfill for a ski jacket. 36 bottles
can make one square yard of carpet. 16
- Americans go through 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. 17
- The plastics industry uses five of the top six chemicals on the EPA's list of chemicals
that generate the most hazardous waste during production. 18
REFUSE & TAKE CONTROL
- Just say No! to packaging. One out of every $10 spent at the store is for packaging.
- Bring your own bags or backpack, and carry a mug.
- Ask for paper made from kenaf, straw or other "tree-free" materials.
- Encourage friends to spend time volunteering instead of shopping.
- Stop junk mail! Write the Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service, Box
9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735. Ask that your address not be given to direct marketers.
- Observe your purchases for a week. What do you buy that you could make, borrow, or
do without? Save money and donate it to charity.
REUSE & RECYCLE
- Cut your paper in half: always use both sides.
- Before throwing things away, check for thrift shops and consignment shops that could
- Recycle everything your community takes. Avoid products or packaging that can't be
- Check the National Green Pages or Choose to Reusefor where
to send those hard-to-recycle materials.
- Compost! Turn food waste into soil. It's easy to do at home, or help your cafeteria
learn to compost.
- Buy second-hand products when you can.
- Always look for paper products that use "post-consumer" recycled materials.
"Post-consumer" means it was collected from recycling programs, not scraps left
over at the paper mill.
- Write major soft drink companies and ask them to support bottle bills that add a 5
cent (or more) deposit to the price of a drink. These bills are important because people
are rewarded financially for recycling. 21
- Read the fine print! The chasing arrows symbol on a product could mean it has recycled
content, or that it's recyclable. On plastic products, it identifies the type of plastic
used. Depending on the number (1-7), the product may or may not be recyclable.
University Bookstores Take the Lead
- Concordia University Bookstore in Montreal offer 10% off new batteries for each battery
returned to recycle.
- McNeese State Bookstore in Lake Charles, LA, offers tree-free filler paper, pads, and
- Ned's Bookstore at Michigan State Univ. recycles all parts of used notebooks, offering
10% of new notebooks when old ones are returned.
T.E. Campus Chapters Cut Waste
- The King's keepers in Edmonton, Alberta, used a Chapter Grant to start a reusable mug
program on their campus.
- The Shamar Chapter at Dordt College collects and resells textbooks to reduce waste.
- The Wheaton Earth-keepers spent two years transforming the nearly non-existent campus
recycling program into a comprehensive, campus-wide system.
||Wackernagel, Mathis and William Rees. "Our ecological Footprint." Gabriola Island,
BC, Canada: New Society Publishers, 1996, p.15.
||EPA, 1996, and "Almanac of the Environment," National Audubon Society, 1994;
in "Eco-Facts," Eco-Cycle, Boulder, CO.
||The EarthWorks Group. "The Recycler's Handbook." Berkeley: Earthworks Press,
||California Dept. of Conservation, 1994 in Eco-Cycle.
||"The Recycle Planner," 1992, in Eco-Cycle.
||ReThink Paper, 1999. firstname.lastname@example.org.
||"Trash to Cash," 1996, in Eco-Cycle.
||"Recycler's Handbook," p.32.
||"Recycler's Handbook," p.34.
||"Recycler's Handbook," p.32.
||"Recycler's Handbook," p.36.
||Goldbck, Nikki & David. "Choose to Reuse," Woodstock, NY: Cere Press, 1995,
||"Recycler's Handbook," p.60.