Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Being a Good Steward of the Earth

Today is America Recycles Day!!

As Christians, God’s word tells us that we are called to be good stewards of the earth. God created the earth and gave man dominion over it (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:6-8) and we are to be responsible caretakers of it.   A year ago I never gave a single thought to where my garbage went when it left our home.  We would take a large bag of trash out every other day to the trash can and then take it to the curb on Monday mornings.  I had heard of people who recycled, but really never thought about where it was going.  Then one day I read an article about how long it takes items to break down in a landfill and it brought it all in to perspective.  If God has entrusted each of us to be caretakers of the world He created for us, why am I not doing my part to make that world more beautiful.  I have always been diligent in attending church, tithing, telling others about Christ, etc.  But this was one area I where my stewardship was lacking.
Here are the statistics I read that day:   Americans (on average) throw away 7 ½ pounds of trash every day.  These items are sent to the landfill, compacted and then buried.   As a whole, 80% of what we throw away could be recycled, but only 28% of Americans recycle.  In the U.S., we use 4 million water bottles an hour, but only 25% of them find their way into the recycle bin.  WOW!!  (Yes that means we throw away 3 million water bottles an hour.)  Think that sounds unusual?  I encourage you to start to notice trash in the cans when you throw things away at home, work, church, stores, sporting events, etc.  It takes one water bottle hundreds of years to break down in the landfill. 

Here are some more items and how long it takes them to break down at the landfill. 

Glass – tens of thousands of years
Plastic grocery bags -  100 hundred years
Plastic Milk jug – 500 years
Aluminum can – 80 years
Styrofoam – NEVER

Did you know that recycling one ton of paper can save seventeen trees and 463 gallons of oil?  Imagine what it could do for our price of gas per gallon if everyone recycled their unused paper.  36 billion cans that we put in landfill each year have $600 million value.  Yes that is what I said, we are throwing away 600 million dollars a year. 

These statistics were very alarming to me.  With water bottles alone, what will happen to our planet by the time our grandchildren start raising their children?  I started to examine the things I threw away in a whole new light.  What could be recycled?  Could my friend use that shirt or purse that I was tired of and going to throw away?  Or could I take it to a charity or consignment store?  Would another boy love a new toy that my son had grown tired of?  Could I reuse a glass jelly jar and make it into a candle holder?  Could I use my husband’s coffee grounds on my garden?  What a new world this had opened up for me.  I wanted to do be a part of taking care of this wonderful place that God has entrusted us with.   I wanted to become a good steward of the land He gave us as a whole, the earth, not just my piece of property.  

 Think about what you can do to make a difference.

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