Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 17, 2017

Earth Concerns News

More Websites for Reducing, Reusing and Recycling by Sister Linda Neil, CSJ


Recently, I was reading a report from the Wall Street Journal, entitled “The Secret to Turning Consumers Green.” According to the report, “It isn’t financial incentives. It isn’t more information. Its guilt.” Guilt is the secret to turning consumers onto green choices (New York Times, 10/18/11, R1). As I considered using the information in this article, I thought, “Oh, great! Guilt! Just what Catholics need to hear! Now we will have green guilt!” However, then I remembered that this article is not for the general public or for Catholics in general but for sisters and associates who do not need to be shamed into eco-friendly behaviors. We desire to do all we can because of our call to be in communion with Earth! 

This month, following our topic of presenting Earth-related websites that we hope will be helpful to you, we will turn to a green mantra: Reduce; reuse; recycle. During April, we will celebrate Earth Day. I really cannot think of a better way to thank and celebrate Mother Earth than to be extremely careful about what we throw into her beautiful body. Every single item that we can keep out of landfills is a blessing to Earth and her ecosystems as well as a way to mitigate global warming.
           
Reducing demands a lifestyle change and an awareness of our wants and needs. This action is really one that we all need to take a good hard look at every day since we go to the store frequently and are faced with the question, Do I really need this item? Earth’s resources, her lifeblood, goes into every item that is grown or manufactured. It takes self-disciple constantly to defy our consumer mentality. A good site to help us with information and with those lifestyle changes is Catholic Climate Covenant at http://catholicclimatecovenant.org.
 
Reusing is a beautifully creative adventure. There are so many opportunities. Goodwill Industries will take a great variety of items, including clothing, electronics and household goods. To find a store near you, visit http://locator.goodwill.org/ and put your zip code into the search box. Freecycle is another good place to offer items that you need to dispose of. The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,928 groups with 8,257,843 members around the world. It is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of persons who are giving (and getting) “stuff” for free in their own towns. It is all about reusing and keeping good items out of landfills. Check the site at http://www.freecycle.org/.
 
A good place to start with websites on recycling is your own municipal site. If you are very clear about what your town or city will recycle, fine. If you are not certain, consult your website for more information. The Town of Colonie and the cities of Albany and Troy have very good information. Syracuse has an awesome website for recycling; there are so many options! If your municipality does not do a good job of recycling or has very limited options, it would be great to e-mail your mayor or commissioner and encourage more recycling opportunities.
 
Of course, there are those items that will not go “curbside” for recycling. Earth 911(http://earth911.com/) is a comprehensive site to use when you think your only option for an item is the trash. For example, do you want to know how to recycle an old computer, electronics, cassette tapes, VCR tapes, your hair, DVDs, etc? On this site you simply type in the item you want to recycle and your zip code, and the recycling opportunities are presented! The site lists companies which will take the item, and the addresses and phone numbers are right there for you! I realize that this action is not easy in the sense that you still need to bring or mail the item to the recycling place, but there is the satisfaction of recycling an item rather than trashing it.
 
An important part of recycling is buying recycled products. Take paper for example. Buying post- consumer recycled paper is a way to support the paper-recycling market. Finding products made with recycled materials is often a simple matter of reading labels before you make a purchase. A site that is very helpful in the green-shopping category is Green America and The National Green Pages. Visit these sites at www.greenamerica.org. As conscientious consumers the best thing that we can do for Mother Earth is to remember that there is no such place as away. Every single item that we throw “away” sits in a landfill and creates methane and destroys an eco-system. Before you “pitch it,” reflect on the following: Can I recycle this item? Can someone reuse it? Let’s keep “stuff” out of the belly of our Mother Earth!