The Web of Recycling

The Web of Recycling

by Amy Martin (c)

An aluminum can, emptied of its fluid contents, is tossed into a recycling bin and taken away. Is it a profound act of community? A spiritual ritual? An ecological cure-all? Or just another version of garbage in and garbage out?

The clattering of a plastic jug in a recycling bin rings with values that some long for as a nation, like the maturity of knowing that something out of sight isn’t necessarily out of mind. In a country that seems to glorify irresponsibility, to recycle is to accept that your personal action or lack of action — not recycling paper or not buying recycled paper — has a definite reaction — clear-cutting forests — sometimes half-way across the globe, sometimes in your own state.

Every time a container or piece of paper is diverted from trash can to recycling bin, it prompts us to question the throwaway society we’ve become. It suggests that maybe, just maybe, if we stop tossing away all this garbage, we might not cast aside our pets and children, our downtowns and historic areas, our elderly and poverty stricken, when they become hard to manage.

In small and subtle ways, these concepts filter into our consciousness each recycling pilgrimage we make, the toss of an item into the bin becomes a kinetic ritual of humanity and faith. By taking an extra moment to concede that your life can impact others, recycling is an act of exquisite consideration which embraces community, a way of confirming that we are all interconnected in this web of life.

Amy Martin

Amy Martin is the North Texas Wild at GreenSourceDFW and author of Itchy Business: How to Treat the Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Rash. More info at Most frequently she was the senior comedy critic for TheaterJones, The Aging Hippie columnist for Senior Voice, and the Taoist panel member of the Texas Faith blog of The Dallas Morning News. A journalist for over 40 years, she wrote for Dallas Observer, Dallas Times Herald, Dallas Morning News, and D magazine, and was contributing editor and columnist for Garbage magazine. She was known by many in North Texas as the Moonlady for her alternative newservice of 15 years, Moonlady News, and served as creator/producer/promoter of the acclaimed Winter and Summer SolstiCelebrations for 20 years. 

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