I have a little box of glass bottles in my garage tucked in beside the bikes and yard equipment. It makes me happy, even a little bit proud. It’s my recycling glass. I live on post and we have curbside recycling, but they don’t pick up glass. I’m not sure why they won’t pick it up along with the plastic and paper. However, glass does get recycled on post. There is a collection area where anyone can drop off items like ink cartridges, oil, antifreeze, wood, and all that glass they won’t pick up.
When we first got to Fort Campbell and I realized that they wouldn’t pick up my glass, I decided to just throw it away. After all, we don’t use much glass. I cook a lot and use a minimal amount of prepackaged stuff; most of what I do buy comes in cardboard or plastic. I figured it couldn’t hurt much. But just as soon as that first olive jar hit the can, I felt compelled to pull it right back out; I just couldn’t throw that jar away. Why?
Was it habit? No, extra effort has never really been my habit. What about laws, ordinances, or rules and regulations? No, we aren’t required to recycle here. What about global warming? Nope, I’m pretty much a skeptic. It has nothing to do with party affiliation, or where I fall on the political spectrum, or shaming, or club memberships, or anything social at all. It’s about something deep inside me that tells me right from wrong. It reminds me about personal responsibility and Biblical edict.
In the Bible, God tells us that He created the Earth (Genesis 1), that He owns it (Job 41:11), and that He loves it (Psalm 33:5-6). He also commands us to take care of it (Number 35:33-34). The whole Earth and everything in it calls out to Him and rejoices in His glory (Psalm 96:11-13). Who am I to silence that joy and mask that glory with my trash? God placed it on my heart to live up to my personal responsibility, place my glass jars in a little cardboard box and drive my lazy butt a couple of miles to the drop off center.
Now, you don’t have to believe as I do to want to clean up after yourself. It could be because, like me, you are a Christian and want to live up to God’s commands. It could be because you are in business and see the financial advantage in recycling. Maybe you believe deeply in the spirituality of the Earth itself. Perhaps you just have your mama’s voice ringing in your head to “PICK UP YOUR OWN MESS!” There are many reasons, and yet we’re all working toward the same goal.
Let me make myself clear. This is not a call for more rules and laws. We have criminalized human behavior to the point where it is hard not to break some sort of regulation on a daily basis. It’s ridiculous.
This is a call to stop fighting each other. To not assume that someone doesn’t care simply because their reason for caring is not your own. To just work together.
Almost 80% of all glass containers used are currently recycled. That’s a huge number! That’s a lot of people doing the right thing. Does it matter why?