Eastern District Blog

The Stewardship of Junk

Friends, Moravians, blog readers, lend me your screens. I come to rescue your trash, not to bury it. The stewardship of junk and the care of God’s Creation go hand in hand. I am thankful for junk.

I purchased my cellphone used partly because the cash value of a new cellphone will depreciate faster than the deed to that bridge you bought that one time from a totally legit real estate website. I am typing this article on a computer I purchased used, at a very low cost. Connected to it are two large, widescreen monitors, one rescued from the rubbish bin, one bought used for only a few bucks. Those monitors sit on a large, like-new condition desk, rescued from the landfill. In the garage sits my lawn mower which I pulled off a neighborhood curb on a fateful trash day 7 years ago, repaired (just a dirty carb) and put back into service. It’s a similar story with my string trimmer, leaf blower, a snow blower, 7 drawer tool box, 3 flat screen tvs all 40” and up, a laptop, an older imac still going strong and a few window air conditioners to replace some ancient ones with that faux wood design and a greater thirst for electricity than Clark Griswold’s Christmas display. Book shelves, a reclining loveseat, two sofas, a coffee table, a pair of expensivehome theater speakers, two dressers and a partridge in a pear tree; All 100% free. Sometimes when I find free items I don’t need I’ll take them anyway, refurbish them and either give them away or sell them cheaply to help someone else who has need but can’t afford new. This also serves to keep stuff out of landfills for a little while longer. What can I say? I rescue junk the same way some people rescue cats.

But seriously, there simply are not enough resources on this earth to support an infinite supply of stuff to infinite generations of humans. Yet as a society we often live as that is so. Something breaks? Don’t fix it, just toss it out. Something is still working fine? Throw it in the trash anyway and buy the new version. Consumerism can be bad for our bank accounts as well as for the environment.

Therefore, I am thankful for salvageable junk. I am thankful for junk yards, thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales and antique stores. I am thankful I have the tools to fix things when they break. I am thankful for the means (charity/thrift stores, the free section on Craigslist) to donate items I no longer want to someone seeking those very items. Everything we buy used or repair, is another item whose raw materials do not need to be harvested/mined, shipped, refined, warehoused, shipped again, manufactured thenshipped and warehoused some more. It’s another item that won’t be sitting in a landfill for 50,000 years. It’s a little more left for future generations. So hats off for the old, the broken and the depreciated. Thank you God for what we already have.