With the current enlightenment of living “green”, we are being encouraged to recycle more than ever. Recycling is a good thing, however, it is not the only way to minimize the garbage we produce. Keep the “three Rs” in mind: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reduce your waste.
One of the best things we can do for our environment is to reduce the amount of garbage we create. Nearly all our waste is created by the things we buy at the stores. Did you know that 75 percent of the garbage from an average household comes from packaging? Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Choose products with minimal packaging
Buy fruits and vegetables loose…preferably from Local Farmers
Choose products with recyclable packaging
Buy in bulk packs
Avoid child-oriented or single serving packaging. Make your own portions and wrap in reusable bags or containers
Reuse items before discarding or recycling.
Refill empty water bottles with tap or filtered water. Wash the bottles regularly to prevent germ build-up. I prefer glass bottles.
Donate any unwanted clothes to thrift shops, churches, or friends/family
Local Communities are often in need of paint, wallpaper or other household items. Contact your city government to see what is needed and how you can donate
Be creative with empty containers! Use plastic, metal or glass contaners to store kitchen or household items, or to grow herbs, flowers or seeds. Can also be used as creative vases filled with flowers for unique gifts.
Recycle to reduce energy consumption.
Recycling generally means to re-form something. Recycled paper, for example, is first washed free of ink, then pulped and squeezed out into new sheets. Certain plastics are recycled into carpet fibers, garden furniture, agricultural pipes, garbage bags, reusable totes, etc. Metal and glass are recycled by melting the old material in a furnace and remolding it. Recycling an aluminum can uses only five percent of the energy it would take to make a new can from mined aluminum ore, and the energy saved is enough to power a TV for two hours. Very interesting stuff! Aim to recycle whatever you can not reuse.
Remember the “three Rs” and keep in mind that recycling is better than using new, reusing is even better, but reducing our waste in the first place is the greenest option.