Caring for the Cosmos
September 2009: Recycling
After marveling at God’s creation in the opening of Psalm 8, King David declares in verse 6, “You made [man] ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet...” Along with the extraordinary privilege of having dominion over the earth, however, comes the tremendous responsibility of protecting God’s world.
While the best way of caring for creation involves generating less waste by consuming less, recycling also proves an excellent method for minimizing the negative impact of discarded materials. Often, local ordinances, like those in Livingston, even require residents to recycle. Thankfully, many communities make the practice easy by offering weekly curbside pickup. Still, knowing exactly what to put out on the street can pose a challenge. With changing policies, plus myriad varieties of plastic and paper, procedures can be confusing.
In an attempt to clarify the situation, the following paragraphs spell out Livingston’s recycling rules, as detailed at livingstonrecycles.org. These policies apply to the church grounds, and are similar to those of many neighboring towns.
With plastics, types 1 – 7 are collected. Numbers printed in recycling symbol triangles on containers specify an item’s class. My parents, whose out of state area only accepts types 1 and 2, often play “locate the number” when the grandkids visit, since they find the often minuscule numerals difficult to decipher. Conveniently, the broad range that Livingston collects covers essentially all varieties, from beverage containers and laundry detergent bottles to plastic produce bags. Even berry containers, plastic egg cartons, yogurt cups, and Styrofoam are included.
Concerning paper, again most forms are accepted, including newspapers, magazines, paperback books, scrap paper, paper bags, corrugated cardboard, and chipboard. Pizza boxes were also recently added to the list. Rules governing glass and metal are fairly straightforward. Clear, brown, and green glass all qualify, as do cans made of aluminum, tin, or steel.
While most batteries, electronic equipment, and hazardous waste cannot be recycled in the sense of being reused, these materials need to be disposed of properly, in order to avoid introducing harmful substances into the environment. Many communities and counties host semi-annual hazardous waste and electronics collections, allowing residents to safely discard these items. My husband visited Essex County’s most recent event, which ran so efficiently, he was in and out of the facility within five minutes and did not lift a finger, aside from popping the trunk.
The first step in recycling is to understand an area’s program. I hope, with a better idea of Livingston’s policies, more people will take advantage of existing recycling services, thereby becoming better keepers of God’s earth.
Copyright © 2009-2013 by Jennifer Kirsch. All Rights Reserved.