Recycling...what do you think?


I wonder what others think about this.

Would you consider it a sin if the following were not recycled properly.

Paint, small batteries, household chemicals, newspapers, plastic bottles, motor oil, electronics.

Or would you eliminate some of these and add others?

Is this a matter for confession?


I always feel bad when I don’t recycle properly. Especially when I know that I didn’t because I was just too lazy. So I would consider my reason for not recycling to be a venial sin.


Interesting question.

I think that if one intentionally chose not to recycle all of these things when the option to do so is clearly presented, then it may be a small sin or imperfection because of the waste that is being caused. However, if such things are thrown into the garbage on occasion by convenience or accident, I don’t think there is anything to worry about.


If it’s easy to do and of little or no cost and you can afford it I think it could be venial sin not to recycle. After all God made everything and He wants us to keep everything nice and in existence for future generations to enjoy :slight_smile:


I’m an avid recycler and do not think it is a sin to not recycle - unless you are breaking local laws by putting certain items such as chemicals, paint, batteries, or florescent bulbs in the landfill.

So rest easy - you don’t have to go to confession for not recycling. But you might want to avoid me. :wink:


You know the biggest thing I have the hardest time recycling? Plastic bags. I reuse them as small garbage bags whenever possible, but a lot of the grocery store ones are totally cheap and have holes in them immediately. Most of the time my “collection” spills out all over my closet because I can never remember to haul them into Target or wherever to recycle them. So I get fed up and pitch them. I really don’t want to pitch them and feel bad every time I do, but otherwise I feel like I am swimming in that stuff. And with little kids, it’s a safety issue. I always wonder if I should confess it.


Plastic bags are a bit of a hassle. I donate mine to the local thrift store. Fill 1 bag with all the others, tie the handles, no spills. :slight_smile:

I try to use my cloth bags when shopping, but I keep forgetting to use them at WalMart. My grocery store gives a 5 cent credit for every reusable bag, WalMart doesn’t.


I don’t recall the Church making a statement that it was sinful. Don’t think it’s a good idea to go around making up new sins to add to our burden. Seriously.


No one said it was a sin for sure, just that it could be a venial sin or imperfection. Definitely not mortal and I hope I’m wrong on the other too :slight_smile:


I believe the Pope mentioned this just recently…about taking care of this earth.

The church doesn’t have a complete list of sins. And nobody makes up a sin…it is either right or wrong or neutral in everything we do.

I know on the motor oil it says right on the label that this can cause cancer by coming into contact with it. And I’m quite sure that many chemicals could also do the same.

Sometimes these items have mercury in them and if not disposed of properly can cause a number of medical problems.

I bought a bag of grub worm killer for my lawn a few years ago and on the label it said to handle with the utmost care and to keep pets and people off the lawn for a few days. It said to cover the entire body before using and to wash exposed skin about three times. Then it listed the illnesses it could cause. I gave it to the chemical disposal unit without using it on my lawn.

Another fellow a block from me had a lawn fertilizing business which his two sons helped him with. He quit the business because the chems caused permanent damage to one of his son’s knees and did something else to his other son.

Most of the plastic grocery bags do break down in the ground and are recycled by mother nature. But I don’t know what the chemical breakdown does to the ground and water supply.

I didn’t bring this up to make anyone’s life more miserable, but to make other people’s lives after us more safe and healthy. What we don’t know does hurt us. And charity dictates that we care.


Some stores take these back - we have one regional grocery chain around us with a big bin for them, and then they also take them at our Walmart customer service desk.

I do still have to remember to put them back in the car, though. :wink:


The idea of stewardship is certainly not new. It is a very classic theological belief.

If we are bad stewards, we are guilty of some sin. We could debate somewhat exactly what bad stewardship entails, but as a principle we can certainly say that bad stewardship is established as sinful.

My personal belief is that deliberate failure to recycle, when it is not difficult to do so, is a case of bad stewardship, and therein sinful (minor venial sin most likely).


Polluting the Earth (which presumably includes not recycling) has been an “official” sin since 2008.

This article suggests it is in fact considered a mortal sin, but perhaps it depends on the amount of polluting you do …


“Presumably”? You can’t presume that not recycling is pollution. As a matter of fact, it’s just “not recycling”. Yes, there’s some waste there, but its not pollution.


This reminds me of the post that said chewing gum is a mortal sin :rolleyes:

I could see how not recycling a significant amount of goods, when easy and affordable to do so, could be a venial sin at most but mortal? I disagree.


Pollution as a mortal sin makes much more sense to me than something like masturbation as a mortal sin. You’re talking about something that negatively affects the entire Earth – which is the only home any of us have for the moment – and therefore is an act against every single other person now and ever to come after you.

And Dshix, I can presume that not recycling counts as pollution because the definition of pollution is “the action or process of making land, air, water, etc. dirty” or “to contaminate, especially with man-made waste.” So yes,** consciously choosing not to recycle something when you know you can is in fact the very definition of polluting.**


Lol! That’s exactly what I forget to do! Or if by some miracle they make it to the car, they sit there because I never remember to them take them into the store. Good grief.

I believe it was Pope Benedict who mentioned environmental sins. I may be misremembering it, but I believe it only goes into mortal territory when it is something like big companies doing serious damage knowingly.


Yes, but it’s a secular sin. If there isn’t such a thing, I just invented it. Secular sin.

I know there are arguments against recycling sometimes, because the inputs required to recycle the recyclables is greater than the inputs required to make new products.

However, I simply can’t throw away something that might have some useful life in it, somehow, somewhere.


I think it depends what you do with them instead of recycling. If you are creating a danger in the way you dispose of them, I think it could be sinful. Batteries can cause fires if they still have some charge and hit against something that makes them short out. Household chemicals and motor oil in the street water drain causes problems. Newspapers and plastic bottles I don’t see as any big deal. Electronics - it depends - where I am it’s illegal to put computers, an old tv, etc. in the trash.


Actually, there are a number of things to do with plastic bags if it’s hard to find a store that will recycle them and there’s too many to line the trash can. My arts and crafts group has made crocheted purses and carryalls from these and it takes a lot of bags to make one item. I have balled them up and used them as packing material instead of newspaper or styrofoam peanuts. I use them to contain garbage I don’t want to put in the garbage disposal. I have used them in old nylon stocking to make draft dodgers to put at door bottoms in the winter.

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