By Kristen Johnson
Yesterday was World Recycling Day, an event that began in the U.S. in 1994. In honor of this momentous occasion, it’s important to start with a look at the rather dismal statistics regarding recycling.
- Americans recycle 34% of the trash they generate. We create an average of 4.4 pounds of waste per day, per person.
- Many European countries are doing a much better job of recycling than we are. For instance, Austria recycles 63% of their trash, and Germany recycles 62% of their trash!
- Unfortunately, some countries have even lower recycling rates than the U.S. – 27% in Canada and 21% in Japan. (Planet Aid).
It’s time to get past these grim statistics and look for solutions. Below are some of my favorite unique recycling ideas that go way beyond simply recycling cans and bottles.
Save your soda-can tabs for an organization called Sewing Hope, a truly fabulous organization that helps women with job security, hope and dignity in Uganda and South Sudan. They use the tabs to create the most beautiful handmade goods you can imagine. Simply pop the tabs off your cans, save them in a jar, and send them in to Sewing Hope’s offices in Oklahoma. It is quick, easy, and helps women living in the aftermath of a very long war. http://www.sewinghope.com/pages/about-us. I recently received a donation from one lady in my church of soda-can tabs and I sent them in with my most recent collection…..imagine how many tabs I can turn in once I ask for the tabs from the whole congregation!
Operation Paperback is another awesome recycling organization. Why not recycle your used books and support the troops at the same time? This nifty organization takes your used books and distributes them to bases, VA hospitals, and other military organizations all over the US and abroad. It’s a little time consuming because each book has to be marked with a printed tag, and each book has to be counted. But, I’ve sent in my books many, many times to this worthy organization and it’s really not that inconvenient to mark the books. http://www.operationpaperback.org
Project Linus is always in need of fabric scraps to make quilts for children in crisis in hospitals, shelters and elsewhere. Simply save your scraps as you are sewing, and then box them up and send them to your nearest Project Linus chapter. http://www.projectlinus.org. I have donated my scraps many, many times and they are always welcomed with open arms. (On a similar note, you can donate scraps to any Methodist church to be used in Prayers and Squares programs for prayer quilts.) There isn’t any reason to fill up landfills with fabric when it can be put to such good use!
If you have other unique ideas for recycling, please share in the comments below!
Be the change – and remember that our planet is a gift from God and we need to take care of it.
Psalm 24:1 (NRSV): The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;
Serve all with love.
Star photo courtesy of: stocksnap.io