Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Oct 02nd
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Home Our Missions Environmental Protection Not as Dumb as It Seems

Not as Dumb as It Seems

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Scrap glass is heavy to handle and doesn’s sell for very much, so it would seem stupid to waste much time and effort on it. However, in one rural county in China, residents use bicycles and wheelbarrows to collect used bottles and jars. They reuse what others only see as "garbage,” and they decrease the damage to the environment.

For 20 years, Zhang Liangshui (張良水) used to bicycle from neighborhood to neighborhood, collecting and buying cardboard, plastics, and other recyclables. He would pile everything on his bike, collecting every type of recyclable material imaginable--except glass. He deemed glass too dangerous, cumbersome, and difficult to transport. Furthermore, it wasn’t worth much money.

Zhang would even go so far as to break the fluorescent tubes he collected, retrieve the more valuable metal within, and throw away the glass. It never occurred to him that poisonous substances in the tubes, such as mercury, could escape and cause serious environmental damage.

One day, he passed a house cluttered with piles and piles of recyclable trash. He stopped in and asked the owner, Huang Yuyin (黃玉英), if he could buy it from her. Unexpectedly, Huang launched into a talk about the importance of environmental protection and a charity foundation called Tzu Chi.

Huang also made a living collecting recyclables. Like Zhang, she canvassed the neighborhoods on her bicycle looking for stuff to collect. At home, she meticulously sorted out the things she had gathered. For example, plastic bags of different colors sold at different prices, so she would carefully separate them into different bundles. She worked long hours, often late into the night. But unlike Zhang, she kept only a small portion of the recyclable income for herself--the rest of the money she donated to Tzu Chi to help students from indigent families.

After hearing her story, Zhang was so touched by her selfless spirit that tears welled up in his eyes. What astonished him even more was that Huang, along with all the other Tzu Chi environmental volunteers, collected and recycled glass--something he deemed practically worthless.


The Beauty of the Jing Si Abode


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You are always welcome to join our Tzu Chi’s Great Love missions by becoming a member or volunteer. Please contact the Tzu Chi location near you.

" Birds have nests; people have homes. If family members live far apart, how can they have a happy family life? "
Jing-Si Aphorism

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