Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle

About ten years ago I really got interested in recycling.  Three years ago I took it a step further and really started to think about our family’s consumption and the overall effect we were having on the earth – our footprint. 

Americans are some serious consumers.  No doubt about that.  As our landfills grow larger and cities all over are contracting their mountains of trash out to rural landfills and outsourcing to other sanitation providers it really made an impact on me as a consumer. 

What can I do to reduce the mountain of trash my family produces? 

A lot actually.  In a world where we often feel powerless to change things of any great importance we can seriously affect the devastation we, as consumers, place on our earth and its natural resources.  We can, very easily, have a dramatic impact on the current concerns and issues affecting our local landfills.  The best part is we can start today! 

·         If you don’t recycle – START.  Even if you don’t have curbside pick-up service, consider locating your local recycling center and taking your items in.

·        Look for the large metal recycling bins in area parking lots supporting scouts, Kiwanis groups, shelters, etc.  Impact the environment and a civic group too!

·        You can recycle – PAPER, NEWSPAPER, CARDBOARD, ALUMINUM, METAL, GLASS, & MOST PLASTIC – look for the symbol.

·        Start COMPOSTING – fruit & vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds & tea bags, shredded newspaper, paper grocery bags, dryer lint, leaves & grass clippings.

·       Shop with RE-USABLE SHOPPING BAGS.  If you must use plastic bags bring your them back to the store to re-use or place in the recycle bin usually located near the front door.  Use PAPER BAGS.

·         PURCHASE LESS than you truly need to avoid waste.

·         THINK before you make your next purchase, no matter how small.  How much trash will this create?”  “How am I going to use it?”  When I am done with it where will it go?”

·         Consider RENTING or BORROWING items you rarely need or use.

·       Collect your ALUMINUM CANS to take in for MONEY and add a little to your income.  My kids collect them and once a year in the spring we take them in.  We usually get enough money to go out to lunch.

·         RETURN all cans and bottles that require a DEPOSIT.

·         If you have a garbage disposal use it.

·         CONSCIOUSLY LOOK at what you are placing into the TRASH.

·         RE-USE items you might normally throw away.  REPAIR something rather than REPLACE it.

·         GROW A GARDEN.  You will give back to the environment, have a place to use your compost and consume wonderful and nutritious food starting with just a few small seeds and a little water.

·         PLANT a TREE.  Give back to the earth to help replace what we take from it.

·         SET AN EXAMPLE and ENCOURAGE OTHERS.

Once you get started you will immediately feel good about what you are doing and pretty soon it will become a habit.  You won’t even have to think about it.

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