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Pope Francis Discourages Food Waste, Encourages Recycling

Fri, 12/20/2013 - 1:25pm
Pope Francis looks up at the statue of the Virgin Mary, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception feast, in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. His appearance Sunday at the foot of the Spanish Steps follows a papal tradition of public prayer before a statue representing Mary on Dec. 8, a church holiday honoring the mother of Jesus. That date also marks the official start of Rome's Christmas shopping season. Francis' route from the Vatican took him down Via Condotti, which is lined with swank designer stores. He prayed aloud that people "never be left indifferent to the cries of the poor." (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has made an amateur video praising the world's "cartoneros" — the poor people who pick through garbage to find recyclable and reusable goods. He says their work is dignified and good for the environment.

Francis recorded the video Dec. 5 while meeting with members of the Excluded Workers' Movement of his native Argentina, which released the video this week at an annual meeting of trash recyclers.

Francis, known for his simple habits, has denounced today's "throw-away culture" and said in the video that food that is tossed aside each day could feed all the world's hungry.

Francis has a long relationship with Argentina's "cartoneros" — literally "cardboard people." He would celebrate Mass for them as archbishop and invited them on stage during World Youth Day in July.

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