Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
This miracle is reminiscent of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath whose jug of flour and jar of oil was never used up and Elisha and the widow's cruze of oil. We are also told that this was a sign. What does the sign describe? It reminds us that Jesus is the Creator of the universe, who can make barley loaves and little fish with impunity.
Recycling began here; waste not want not.