O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

Trash and Waste and Stuff

I need your help. I’m working on a new article for Christian Single about our big waste problem, which sounds like something you shouldn’t talk about in mixed company but is really about trash and consumption and having too much stuff.

I need to speak to some people who are doing things to limit or fight this problem, either on a larger, community-wide basis or on a smaller, personal basis. For instance, have you recently begun limiting the amount of stuff you buy? Do you recycle? Do you try to reuse certain resources? Are you one of those office weirdoes who insists on saving one-sided sheets of paper so you can print on the other side? (I am.) Are you actively working to reduce waste?


If so, shoot me an email or leave a comment, and tell me about it. I’ll possibly want to interview you for the article. Despite the title of the magazine, you don’t necessarily have to be Christian or single to get quoted. But I don’t really want to have to use many sentences that say something like: Brenda, a married Hindu, thinks recycling is awesome. “I think recycling is awesome,” she says. Too much of that would make for a lousy story.

Anyway, while you’re trying to decide whether or not you want me to interview you, consider the following facts, courtesy of Annie Leonard’s excellent The Story of Stuff site:


The United States has 5% of the world’s population…yet consumes 30% of the world’s resources. And we create 30% of the world’s waste.

If everyone in the world consumed stuff at the same rate we do, we’d need at least three more planets just to hold it.

The average U.S. citizen consumes twice as much today as 50 years ago.

Each person in the U.S. generates 4.5 pounds of garbage a day, which is twice what we produced 30 years ago.


For every one trash bag you put out on the curb, seven equivalent trash bags of waste were used beforehand to produce the trash you just put out on the curb.

If you’re intrigued or upset by these statistics and have 20 minutes to spare, go to The Story of Stuff and play the video. It’s entertaining and fun and educational in a Schoolhouse Rock sort of way, only it makes you feel bad about trash. Which is kind of the point.

Ideas? Talk to me.

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posted October 3, 2008 at 8:48 am

You should definitely not interview me, because I’d be forced to face the consumptive monstrosity that three babies’ worth of disposable diapers have wrought.A few years ago, though, I lived with a Dominican sister (long story) who had an amazing personal ethic of recycling. She reused many of the things that Americans consider disposable: clothes dryer sheets and ziploc bags come immediately to mind. She also introduced me to the most ancient form of recycling: composting. Sister Dorothy is Christian and single, and I can easily put you in contact with her.This is my first visit/comment from a DOJ server. I hope your site logs reflect that.

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posted October 3, 2008 at 9:42 am

We use cloth diapers.

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Travis Thompson

posted October 3, 2008 at 2:31 pm

My wife and I also use cloth diapers, and she is very into not wasting stuff (I am too, but I admittedly don’t have nearly the passion she does…)

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posted October 3, 2008 at 3:37 pm


posted October 3, 2008 at 5:03 pm

My wife and I recycle almost everything glass and plastic that comes through our house. My wife reuses plastic bags she uses to send food for our youngest(8 months) to the babysitter. We don’t use plastic cups or plates. 75% of the day our house is “lightless” and we open windows when possible to not use the AC which is usually kept at 77 degrees. Don’t know if that’s what your looking for…

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Jason Boyett

posted October 4, 2008 at 12:30 pm

@JMJ: Thanks for that link. It’s perfect. I’ve already been in touch with Dave and will interview him in full next week.@cloth diaper users: Wow. You guys impress me.@ricky: where do you guys take your glass recycling in Amarillo?

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posted October 5, 2008 at 2:28 pm

Don’t think there is a place for glass here in Ama. We send it with my in-laws to Guymon, Ok. They have a place there that does it.

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posted October 5, 2008 at 9:46 pm

If anyone is looking for a home for their aluminum in Amarillo, I have an uncle who supplements his income with such recycling.

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posted October 15, 2008 at 4:46 am

My wife and I have a bucket in the shower to save the water that comes from the faucet as it’s warming up. We use that water to flush the toilet. Also, my wife saves her scripts from a weekly production she is in so she can print on the other side.i wonder if because of this “economic crisis” we are in and the “it’s hip to be green” lifestyle we are tying to develop these days – I wonder if our grandkids will roll their eyes at us for saving everything like I do to my grandparents who grew up in the 30’s?

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