Whenever trash pickup occurs, I am amazed at the amount of stuff I haul out to curb. I am equally amazed at how full my recycle bin becomes over a two week period. It makes me appreciate our city's trash collection and recycling programs. I shudder to think of what my house would look like if I didn't have a convenient way to dispose of all the stuff that accumulates.
Most people are probably unaware of it, but this Sunday, November 15, is National Recycles Day. It is dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. Some statistics help us understand the need for this important activity:
There are 1200 million – tons of trash in the United States
68 % of all paper products are recycled in the United States
65% of total waste is recycled in the United States
There has been a 100% increase in total recycling in the United States during the past decade
By recycling an aluminum can, 95% of the energy used to make a new one is saved.
We produce 4.6 pounds of trash per person per day in the United States (most in the world).
In the first part of Chapter 1 of Pope Francis' encyclical, “Laudato Si,” he talks about the everyday pollution we deal with as well as the more unhealthy stuff that can be found everywhere. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” (Paragraph 21)
Pope Francis links this to what he calls a throwaway culture, starting with something as simple as throwing away paper instead of recycling it. This entire chapter then goes into detail about how the throwaway culture extends beyond merely not recycling paper. As we celebrate the beauty of the earth, and NRD, perhaps we can accompany it with a prayer from the United Conference of Catholic Bishops on creation and the environment:
“Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,