When I was a senior in college, I scored a radio show on the college radio station. While we were supposed to have a format, in reality DJs could play whatever records (vinyl!) we wanted to play. The only real requirement was to announce the station call letters and frequency now and then, and play at least one public service announcement (PSA) during our two-hour show. My favorite PSA was a little song recorded by the station manager that went like this:
Recycle, recycle, recycle
It’s a very good thing to do.
Recycle, recycle, recycle
Do it and you won’t feel blue!
It’s not a coincidence that this was my favorite one to play, and
I’ll share a secret with you: I’m a recycling geek. As a kid of the
’70’s, I’ve been bought into the idea for quite a while. My elementary
school in northern California separated food scraps from school lunch
for composting, and I remember clearly how water was rationed during a
drought in 1975. I’ve hauled bags of my discarded paper, glass,
plastic and metal to many different recycling facilities in many
different states. You can imagine my excitement when my city decided
to offer curbside recycling pick up of plastic bottles! Oooh!
While I don’t think I’m too annoying about my recycling habits, my
husband would probably be fine never hearing the words "Did you know
you could recycle that?" from me again as he heads to the garbage can
with something. However, I am passing my recycling passion along: it’s
a true event in our household for my two-year old son when the
recycling truck lumbers down our street. In our house, it’s not
Monday, it’s "recycling truck day". Everything in our household stops
so we can go watch the recycling truck – which, to be fair to my son’s
true passions, is probably more about the fact that it’s a big truck
than it is that it’s a recycling truck.
My recycling passion has also extended into the reuse part of the equation. I’m a regular user of our local version of Freecycle – here it’s called the Twin Cities Free Market.
The idea is that you can list reusable items for the home or garden
that you either want to find or want to give away for free. I love
this service, and have gotten rid of lots of things our family no
longer needs – the extra bale of hay I overestimated needing for
mulching the garden, the baby bassinette that the baby has grown out
of, the ’50’s era freezer left in our basement by the previous
So what does all this have to do with making a difference?
In my own small way, the act of recycling connects with important
values of mines – thrift, stewardship, giving back. On a bigger scope,
I’m reminded that finding ways to recycle ourselves daily, annually,
and over the course of our lives, is part of our task as leaders and
change agents. Taking what is old, used up, discarded and making it
new again; giving away what we no longer use to others who can make
better use of it, or who can do something new with something that we
don’t need anymore.
What ideas, beliefs, thoughts or actions do you need to recycle?
What could you give away to someone else?
As always, I’d love to hear your ideas!