by Betty Byrne Ware
The first time I heard a talk about recycling, I was awed when the speaker said, “You throw things away, but there is no away. Those things have to go somewhere.” That somewhere is a landfill, of which there are 3,091 in the US, plus over 10,000 old municipal landfills. Landfill liners are only 1/10 of an inch thick, so all landfills will eventually leak hazardous material into the groundwater. We don’t want to think about these things, but we should, as stewards of this good earth that blessedly has been given to us.
After World War II and to the present, there have been great promotions of things “disposable”, as if this is a great plus. It costs municipalities an average $45. a ton to haul our “disposables” to landfills. In 2013, almost 15 million tons of waste were sent to Virginia landfills, the same year that the recycling rate decreased to 41%.
What can we do? First of all, we should try to Reduce the amount of unnecessary items that we buy.
Second, we should Reuse as much as possible. Think cloth towels and napkins, metal utensils, ceramic plates instead of paper or plastic. We can bring our own covered travel mugs to church for coffee or use the ceramic ones that are provided.
Third, we can Recycle all possible items instead of “throwing them away”. Thankfully, our church offers recycling services for us. It is important that we recycle all mixed paper, cardboard (unwaxed and clean of food), metal and aluminum cans, glass jars and bottles and #1-#7 plastic containers. Clearly marked containers will be set out for us and it is important NOT to throw other materials in those containers.
It is my hope that you will train your children about the Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycling, and that you will adopt these programs at your homes and offices, as well as at our church. We have been blessed with such a beautiful world. We want to protect that natural beauty and reduce the need for landfills! Thank you for your cooperation.