In the early 80s I drove twice-weekly from near Princeton, New Jersey, up to Kearny, on the Jersey side near the Meadowlands. I usually took the Jersey Turnpike until the Kearny exit. For this country boy, the site of the landfill affected me every time I saw it. Huge! Mountainous! Growing! Acres of trash being compacted by heavy machinery and picked over by seagulls. It did not take much imagination to envision a day when the landfills just for the New York City metro area would cover more area than a west Texas county to a depth of over a hundred feet. We can't keep doing this sort of thing forever.

I think it a Christian duty to promote and to practice the Three R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even little steps count. Our grocery store sacks into smaller-sized plastic bags. I reduce the number of bags by requesting no bags for milk jugs, sacks of potatoes, etc. that I can carry just as easily, or perhaps more easily, without the bag. We reuse the bags by using them as trash can liners in the bathrooms (reducing another purchase), and by giving them to a fellow-church member who uses them to clean up after her dog when she walks him. A small step, but small steps add up. I have a box in the corner of my office for white paper to take to recycling. No hardship. Just the cultivation of a certain habit.

Looking at our wasteful culture, it is tough to believe that we are the descendants of people who practiced "A penny saved is a penny earned," and "Use it up, wear it out, make it do."