Living Responsibly—Recycle Right! Make Your Life a Beautiful Prayer

“Therefore strive that your actions day by day
may be beautiful prayers.”

Christine Muller (faculty for the Wilmette Institute’s Climate Change and Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind courses) provides monthly tips to help us to live more socially and environmentally responsible lives and to treat our physical world with the respect it deserves. We hope that, as we make these tips a part of our habits, we will collectively be mitigating the severity of climate change, reducing human suffering, and keeping the Earth a livable place for the next generations.—THE EDITORS

by Christine Muller

The Dos of Recycling. Recycling is an obvious way to help the environment, and it does not require much effort. However, you need to learn your local rules about what can be recycled and what cannot. In some places, recycling programs ask you to separate glass, paper, and aluminum, and they accept only certain types of plastics. Other places accept a number of kinds of paper and metals as well as plastics #1–7. In yet other places, the program asks you to put all recyclable into one bin. Some communities even provide customers with special recycle bins. Hence it is important to find out what your local rules are.

The Don’ts of Recycling. Wherever you live, it is important not to include items that you just wish could be recycled. Why is this important? Non-recyclables can contaminate an entire load of recyclables that will be rejected, causing it to end up in a landfill. Non-recyclables can also diminish the value of recycled materials, damage machinery, and lead to unsafe conditions for workers. So what cannot be recycled? Food waste should never be put in a recycle bin (compost it instead). Liquids in bottles and containers cannot be recycled and must be poured out. Other non-recyclables include Styrofoam of any kind, frozen-food packages, ice-cream containers, soiled pizza boxes, ceramics, light bulbs, batteries, hazardous waste, sharp metal, wood and yard waste, medical waste and needles, and electronics. Plastic bags also do not ever belong in recycle bins because they wrap themselves around moving parts of the recycling machinery and cause shut downs (take plastic bags to a grocery store that collects them for special recycling). Many recycling programs require clean and dry items and uncrushed cans and milk containers.

Non-Recyclables. Many places that do not collect glass and light bulbs with other recyclables have special places where you can take them. Many places also have periodic collection drives for computers, cell phones, and other electronics, hazardous materials, prescription medicines, and other items that recycling places do not accept. There are many places to recycle used clothing. Check out the guidelines for recycling in your town! It’s worth the trouble and contributes to living a pure life.


Avoid Single-Use Items
Consider Social Justice in Your Food Choices

Shower Less  /  Avoid Plastics  /  Purchase Mindfully  /  Why Eat Organic?
The Bees and We  /   Use Energy-Efficient Appliances  /  Shop Smart, Buy in Bulk
Eat Lower on the Food Chain   /   Buy Second-Hand Clothing

Choose Reusable Shopping Bags / Insulate Your House / Go for a Walk or Bike Ride or Car Pool to Meetings / Shop Locally, Support Local Agriculture / Give Up Bottled Water—Go Back to the Tap / Go Solar / Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry / Ethical and Easy Lawns / Buy Clean Energy / Eat Less Beef / Home Energy Audit / Searching the Web (Use Ecosia and Plant a Tree)

Leave a Reply