|Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
My first recycling awareness is of dogfood cans in the early ‘70’s. The gelatinous fatty slime was difficult to wash off the corrugated innards, but we scrubbed the cans cut off the lids, flattened the cans and collected them until the trip to the recycling center. We saved newspapers in paper grocery bags: dad tied them with twine as each bag was filled. We saved glass bottles. Then, periodically, we piled our bounty into the back of the station wagon and hauled it to the local high school recycling center that was sponsored by the Lion’s club. There we separated the metal and glass: clear or colored into dumpsters, and unloaded the twined paper bundles onto the back of a semi-trailer which volunteers manned. They scurried back and forth stacking the paper ceiling high in the big trailer.
Recycling now is so routine, for those who care, who’ve been willing to care.
In some communities, it is mandated, and not recycling carries a fine. It has become nearly effortless as recycling cans line up beside trash cans on city streets, and trash collection services provide recycling bins.
So why do we recycle? Mom was aware of the value of thrift, frugality, was environmentally aware early in the trend toward reducing, reusing, recycling.
Yet, despite the easiness of recycling those ubiquitous plastic bottles, soda cans, paper goods, some people remain oblivious to their impact. It seems to be outside their awareness to care enough for the big picture of life on this planet, much less life in their own neck of the woods, to care enough to take the tiny extra step to the recycle bin versus the trash can, or worse, the curb. And so trash proliferates. Naturally attractive areas are marred.
I think of relationships like this. The refuse, unwanted fragments of marriages, like numerous plastic bottles, children adrift from families, on the wayside, tattered hearts caught on roadside weeds like lawnmower shredded soda cans, or old plastic bags smothering new green growth like unhealed emotional baggage from one relationship or another.
It’s time for spring cleaning, for awareness to grow anew. For individuals, families to say “I care”- the effort is worth it. – to clean up the damage and prevent future waste.
Clean-up is not easy. It may mean handling sharp-edged broken glass, ripped metal cans, reaching into brambles after empty chips bags, or those plastic grocery bags that the wind has whipped around, over, under shrubs making it a small wrestling match to disentangle them.
The result is so positive! An area that has been cleared of the man-made debris has so many pleasing things to catch the eye undistracted by the former trash.
Maybe by reducing the multitude of activities/busyness that drag at our relationships and then narrowing the focus onto building these relationships, not disposing of them when they are soiled or inconvenient, but cleaning them up, caring for them, giving them use would in a sense recycle these relationships back into our lives with value, appreciation, care, instead of treating them and the people in them as roadside waste.