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Recycling Quotes

We can help educate our families and communities about the importance of recycling for our environment, and how each of us can make a difference for a better world by recycling.
-- Robert Alan Silverstein

But our waste problem is not the fault only of producers. It is the fault of an economy that is wasteful from top to bottom—a symbiosis of an unlimited greed at the top and a lazy, passive, and self-indulgent consumptiveness at the bottom—and all of us are involved in it.
-- Wendell Berry

Much of our waste problem is to be accounted for by the intentional flimsiness and unrepairability of the labor-savers and gadgets that we have become addicted to. -- Wendell Berry

There appears to be a deeply embedded uneasiness in our culture about throwing away junk that can be reused. Perhaps, in part, it is guilt about consumption. Perhaps it also feels unnatural. Mother Nature doesn't throw stuff away. Dead trees, birds, beetles and elephants are pretty quickly recycled by the system.
--William Booth

... if the society toward which we are developing is not to be a nightmare of exhaustion, we must use the interlude of the present era to develop a new technology which is based on a circular flow of materials such that the only sources of man's provisions will be his own waste products. -
-- Kenneth E. Boulding

As long as man was small in numbers and limited in technology, he could realistically regard the earth as an infinite reservoir, an infinite source of inputs and an infinite cesspool for outputs. Today we can no longer make this assumption. Earth has become a space ship, not only in our imagination but also in the hard realities of the social, biological, and physical system in which man is enmeshed. In what we might call the "old days," when man was small in numbers and earth was large, he could pollute it with impunity, though even then he frequently destroyed his immediate environment and had to move on to a new spot, which he then proceeded to destroy. Now man can no longer do this; he must live in the whole system, in which he must recycle his wastes and really face up to the problem of the increase in material entropy which his activities create. In a space ship there are no sewers.
-- Kenneth E. Boulding

* "Solid wastes" are the discarded leftovers of our advanced consumer society. This growing mountain of garbage and trash represents not only an attitude of indifference toward valuable natural resources, but also a serious economic and public health problem.
-- Jimmy Carter

We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly.
-- Clement of Alexandria (150?-220?)

"75% of colleges and universities have a recycling program."
--Colorado State University Recycling Program

"Recycling is a good thing to do. It makes people feel good to do it. The thing I want to emphasize is the vast difference between recycling for the purpose of feeling good and recycling for the purpose of solving the trash problem."
--Barry Commoner

Years ago, we all talked about recycling and not dumping things down your drain and all of that, but talking doesn't help much. Basically, it's going to have to be legislation because the impact is so huge and diversified.
-- Ted Danson

The greatest economic benefit of recycling is that it provides a base of materials for robust, efficient manufacturing industries. So far this decade, U.S. paper manufacturers have voluntarily built more than 45 recycling-based pulp and paper mills and only a handful that use virgin wood. This is not just because recycling plants are better for the environment, but because they are a less expensive way to increase production, taking advantage of the increasing supplies of used paper collected in business and community recycling programs.
-- Richard A. Denison & John F. Ruston

The ever-mounting glut of waste materials is characteristic by-product of modern "consumer society." It might even be argued that capitalism's continual need to find of generate markets means that disposibility and waste have become the spine of the system. To consume means, literally, "to destroy or expend," and in the garbage crisis we confront the underlying truth of a society in which enormous productive capacities and market forces have harnessed human needs and desires, without regard to the long or even short-term future of life on the planet.
-- Stuart Ewen

* Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value.
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

"Listen up, you couch potatoes: each recycled beer can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours."
~ Denis Hayes

"The agriculture we seek will act like an ecosystem, feature material recycling and run on the contemporary sunlight of our star."
-- Wes Jackson

To achieve true sustainability, we must reduce our 'garbage index" - that which we permanently throw away into the environment that will not be naturally recycled for reuse - to near zero. Productive activities must be organized as closed systems. Minerals and other nonbiodegradable resources, once taken from the ground, must become a part of society's permanent capital stock and be recycled in perpetuity. Organic materials may be disposed into the natural ecosystems, but only in ways that assure that they are absorbed back into the natural production system.
-- David Korten

Recycling is more expensive for communities than it needs to be, partly because traditional recycling tries to force materials into more lifetimes than they are designed for - a complicated and messy conversion, and one that itself expends energy and resources. Very few objects of modern consumption were designed with recycling in mind. If the process is truly to save money and materials, products must be designed from the very beginning to be recycled or even "upcycled" - a term we use to describe the return to industrial systems of materials with improved, rather than degraded, quality.
-- William McDonough and Michael Braungart

The case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear. Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more jobs than landfilling or incineration. And a largely ignored but very important consideration, recycling reduces our need to dump our garbage in someone else's backyard.
-- David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance

"Recycling is an industry comparable in size to auto and truck manufacturing"
--National Recycling Coalition.

Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
-- New England proverb

Source reduction is, on the face it, perhaps the most appealing of all the possible approaches to solid-waste management.
-- William Rathje and Cullen Murphy

* "What we are living with is the result of human choices and it can be changed by making better, wiser choices."
-- Robert Redford

"Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for three hours."
--Reynolds Metal Company

We are recycling not only to protect the environment, but for economic reasons as well. Disposal is simply too costly and too dangerous. The challenge is to redirect the flow of raw materials going to landfill into strengthening our declining local economies. The solution to pollution is self-reliant cities and counties.
-- Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 1990

It's time we stopped turning up our noses at the nation's garbage dumps and started appreciating them for what they really are -- the municipal mines, forests, oil wells and energy sources of the future!
-- Max Spendlove

I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.
-- Mother Teresa

Wisdom understands that in a world of ecological interconnectedness there is no such things as “away.” We don’t throw things “away,” we simply put them someplace where they defile the land, foul the water, pollute the air or change the earth’s atmosphere.
-- Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat

"Widely spaced earth-sheltered towns offer sweeping views over the plains. High-speed trains link the communities. Food is grown in the region. Bikeways are everywhere. Nonpolluting hydrogen powers all vehicles. Sunlight and wind generate the hydrogen. Note the earth-covered bridges, the continuous window bands, the wind machines across the farmlands. In this new America, everything is reused, recycled, conserved."
-- Malcolm Wells

"You can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage is recycled."
-- Dhyani Ywahoo


Jimmy Carter | Robert Redford

Recycling Day - November 15

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