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One of the singular joys of getting older (or not) is the sudden accumulation of cheery white-hatted, amber-orange pill bottles. What used to make a rare appearance, one bottle here or there, after a dental surgery, say, now piles up like candy wrappers on Halloween night.

What to do with them all? I’ve been through the Pinterest prescriptions, and if I had the patience to craft up all those pill bottles I might not be on blood pressure medication in the first place.

I’d like to send them back from whence they came for reuse. Though I may have mangled the stubborn bottle that refuses to open, the vast majority of pill bottles that stream into this house remain fully functional after they’re emptied. But neither of the two major pharmacies within walking distance of our home accepts them. The Walgreen’s website notes that plastic pill bottles “can be recycled wherever plastic containers are accepted.” In other words . . . .no takebacks.

But does plastic really get recycled anymore? Since China stopped accepting our recyclables*, a lot more of what we put in our recycling bins ends up in landfills than material recovery facilities. The thought of sending yet another perfectly-useful thing to the giant-pit-where-nothing-composts-in-my-lifetime ensures that I do still need that blood pressure medicine.

So I consulted the ever-handy Earth911 website and discovered that Matthew 25:Ministries, an international humanitarian aid and disaster relief organization, accepts clean pill bottles for reuse in developing countries. Prescriptions in poorer countries are often wrapped in paper which provides no protection from moisture or inquisitive toddlers. Matthew 25: Ministries ships clean bottles along with its shipments of medical supplies.

Suddenly, that pile of pill bottles mushrooming in the corner seems a precious gift. Amazing how quickly a simple shift of perspective converts a guilt-triggering vexation into divinely-inspired Purpose. Now, to sort through all those cardboard boxes stashed for reuse “someday!” and pack up the white-headed lads for a long journey.

I’m excited to get back the use of our living room.

love earth now

The Power of Doing One Thing Every Day

What can you do for the environment? Do you find yourself wondering what on Earth you can do about the serious environmental challenges we face today? Do you worry there’s nothing any one person can do that will make a difference? Most people say they would like to do something to make the world a better place, but they just don’t believe they have the time, energy, money or power to do anything that will make a real difference. Are you willing to devote 20 minutes a week to find out? Environmental activist Cheryl Leutjen has the planet’s back and is betting you do too. Her powerful book of inspired ideas and eco-mindfulness calls upon us all to Love Earth Now.

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