Divre Harav/Words from the Rabbi – December, 2010

Deuteronomy 20:19 is the source for the Biblical mandate of bal tashhit, prohibiting wanton and unnecessary destruction of natural resources.  Today, the catchphrase is reduce, reuse, recycle; reduce your consumption of non-renewable resources (such as paper and plastics), reuse whenever possible, and recycle.

Recycling has been a challenge at Ahavas Israel, although not for a lack of desire on our part.  At first, because we don’t participate in city garbage pick up, we were not eligible for recycling pickup.  Later on, it turned out that we could get city recycling pickup, but since our designated day is Wednesday morning and our custodian does not work on Tuesday, we had a problem.  It’s a long walk to carry the recycling bins from the building to the street.  Periodically, someone would take the recycling home.  The home bins were fairly small, however, and it just wasn’t feasible to take large amounts home or convenient to take large amounts to a recycling drop off point.  Thanks to Deb Johnston, our office manager, we have been recycling office paper – she volunteered to drop it off in a large recycling bin.

Over the summer, Grand Rapids moved to large recycling carts.  I have a 96 gallon cart, which is completely full by the time it is picked up ever other Wednesday.  They have also switched to single stream recycling, which means that all recyclable go into the same cart and are separated at the recycling facility.  Those living outside Grand Rapids will have recyclables picked up by their own trash service, but since they are likely to use the Kent Country facility, it should be single stream as well.  This means that it is much easier for member of our congregation to take home a box or bag of recyclables to throw into your own bin.  Currently, Mark Neistat has volunteered to take care of our recyclables.  If, however, we are very conscious of reusing and recycling rather than throwing away, eventually I hope will need more than one person to help out.

Several years ago, the Sisterhood bought glass plates for the meeting room, so we would no longer have to use paper and throw it out every week.  A small investment up front not only saves money in the long run but also conserves resources.  Help us continue to be mindful of natural resources by looking for ways that we can reduce the resources we use, and reuse or recycle our paper, plastic, and metal.

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