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Reform Magazine | May 19, 2024

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Commitment-Phobe: Advent challenge, day three - Reform Magazine

Commitment-Phobe: Advent challenge, day three

Day three of the  Advent Challenge is all about God’s love of our earth and, therefore the environment, recycling or reducing waste. The three options today were:

  • 1) Recycle as much as you can today
  • 2) Buy some recycled wrapping paper
  • 3) Give a tree as a Christmas gift

Option one tied in nicely with a lot of my current preoccupations. I have been obsessively following various blogs and websites on reducing waste, living with less and purchasing thoughtfully. In one Youtube video, you can meet a woman who has produced one mason jar’s worth of waste in an entire year! She composts and recycles everything and walks around with various re-usable bags and containers to do things like drink the take-away coffee that most of us can no longer live without. Do watch the video! I am not anywhere near her dedication and I doubt I ever will be that organised, but I do like the idea of having less waste to recycle in the first place. I currently have a food caddy, a recyclables bin and a dustbin that gets collected by my council, but I am still frustrated by how much ends up being thrown away because so much plastic packaging is not recyclable. I have also always felt a little worried about where my recycling was going, like it was all too good to be true. I visited where you can find out. I am feeling a little more trusting now.

I have spent the last two months slowly boxing up items to recycle, pass on or sell in order to have more space and live with less of everything. It has been a painstaking and, at times, mind-numbing job, which has left me with a hallway of boxes going nowhere. The thing is, the reason it’s so appealing to just throw stuff in the bin or dump it on the street is because it is such a time free option; whereas recycling or passing on can be very time expensive. I have two boxes filled with bags to take to H&M, who do a textile recycle scheme. You can put your overwashed t-shirt and a holey pair of socks in a bag, hand them over, and they will be turned into something new and you’ll get a £5 discount voucher for your trouble. But as my nearest shop is a train-ride away and in a huge and overwhelming shopping complex, I never get round to doing it. And then, there is my living room – I have been avoiding dealing with it. But this morning, bearing in mind that Christmas is coming and there is nowhere to put a tree (real or fake), I set to the task of getting rid of the various mountains of junk mail, paper work and child’s artwork cluttering my living room. Four carrier bags later, and I could actually see some surfaces. I even persuaded my three-year-old daughter to pass on one of her toys that she never plays with.

Later, when we were washing our hands before lunch, my daughter and I got to talking about flushing the loo, which led to the topics of using less water, recycling and other things we can do the protect the earth. She didn’t like the idea of rubbish going into the fishes in the sea or being burnt and ending up choking the birds in the air. She walked away at that idea. Fair enough.

I received a fortuitous little Advent gift, in an unexpected form this evening. The two boxes worth of clothes for textile recycling which were taking up room in my hallway, were taken off my hands unexpectedly. I was given a lift home after choir practice and mentioned today’s challenge. My choir friend asked me if I was getting rid of any old clothes, not the good kind. “Funny you should say that,” I said. She needed donations for her textile-recycling stand at her school’s Christmas fair. I handed them over and she drove off into the night with them, my trash now something of worth. Does that count as divine providence?

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