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Old newspapers are made into shopping bags. In many countries we use plastic bags for carrying our shopping. Plastic lasts for many years. When people throw the bags away, they stay on rubbish tips or blow around spoiling the countryside. Newspaper soon rots down, so newspaper bags are much better than plastic ones. Using rubbish to make something else is called ‘recycling’. It is one way that we can help our world to be a better place to live in.

In 2004, a group of people in India who grew up living on the streets, wanted to say “thank you” because they did not live on the streets any more. They began to collect old newspapers and make them into carrier bags for shopping. They started a company so they could sell these bags, and other things they make, to people in other countries. They earn enough money from the sale of their newspaper bags to help 13 street children.

These children lived and worked around the train station in one of India’s largest cities. Now they can enjoy going to school and playing, instead of polishing shoes or collecting rubbish from the city’s rubbish tips and bins. The newspapers are collected from homes in the city by bicycle rickshaw. These papers would otherwise have gone to rubbish tips. By using them for bags, the paper is recycled. It is being given a second chance!

We can be recycled too!

This is a picture of what God wants to do in our lives. All of us have thought and done wrong things. We call this “sin”. Sin makes us feel bad inside. We do not know how to escape from the feelings of guilt and shame that sin brings into our lives. Our shame can come from things we have done wrong ourselves or from things other people have done to us. These things make us think that people do not like us, or God is far away from us. We feel we have no hope. But God wants to change our lives and make us free to know him as a very special friend. He can take us, however bad we are, and give us a new start. He sent Jesus Christ into the world to die on a cross even though Jesus never did anything wrong. He had to die because death is the punishment for sin. When Jesus died, he was taking the punishment, not for his own sin, but for ours. If we tell God we are sorry for all our sin, he forgives us and makes us new people. It is as though we have been recycled. He becomes our wonderful friend and we will one day be with him in heaven.

For recycling and other ideas to help your community read Footsteps magazine