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Monday, August 11, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I'm sure you've heard this slogan. I'm not sure if people in the mid-West have. We are visiting family in Indiana and Wisconsin this week and I just CRINGE to see soda cans, cereal boxes, everything...absolutely everything going in the trash can. We drive past enormous landfill mountains all over the country side out here, and yet people don't recycle! Hello! The land fill is in your back yard! I'll keep my mouth shut...except for one more thing. Why do you people smoke while you are eating in restaurants? To smell that nastiness and try to eat something delicious at the same time is really hard. A few people ruin the air quality for everyone. I am a spoiled New Yorker with great no smoking laws. Ok. I'm done moaning and groaning about the Mid-West.
I have increasingly become more aware of the amount of "stuff" that I bring into my home, and the amount of "stuff" I take out of my home in the form of trash. Two babies in diapers makes up a large portion of it, but potty training starts in earnest when we are home from our trip to visit family!

I wouldn't say that I am a recycling fanatic, although I do put all paper materials, glass and plastics in the green recycle bin every Sunday night to be picked up. Where it goes from there, I'm not really sure. Some people say that the amount of energy used in the recycling process voids out the benefits of keeping all that stuff out of landfills. I really have no idea and have no control over the recycling process that is in place right now in my state. All I can control is putting it in the designated box.

What I can control in my life is the REDUCE and REUSE aspect of that logo. I've been doing my best to stop intaking plastic bags with every purchase I make. The last time I went to the grocery store, I used 2 of my own totes, and only 2 of their plastic bags. That's a vast improvement for me! I really want one of these totes. They cost $12, but they are cute and can fit into my purse. I am also looking at the packaging of items that I purchase on a regular basis to see where I can cut back. For example, instead of buying individual sized yogurt or applesauce (which are so convenient) I buy the large size and portion it out into smaller bowls as we consume it.

Obviously, I'm totally into reusing things. That's the cheapo part of me...I mean the environmentalist in me. When people throw something out that is still functional and usable to another person, I get mad. My dad throws out anything that he doesn't have a use for. I wish he'd call me first so I can grab it up or pass it along to someone who needs a certain item. I've managed to rescue quite a few things over the years from his trash pile. I can remember when I was 16, he put an antique dresser out on the side of the road because one drawer didn't slide well. I ran out and rescued it at the same time some people were about to put it into their car! Whew! That was a close call. I used that dresser all through high school and my mom still uses it now.

I'm considering doing a compost pile so that my watermelon rinds, eggs, coffee grinds, ect are not going to the garbage pile. Instead, they will be broken down into a rich compost that my flowers and shrubs will love. I've read about doing a worm compost, where the worms eat their way through that type of garbage and their excrement is fabulous for gardening. (Like I want to deal with more excrement than I already do on a daily basis) Does anyone have experience with composting?

What are your thoughts on "REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE"? I set up the poll to get a general idea of where people are at, but comments would be fun to read too.



Ronda said...

Oh, don't get me started on the smoking thing! I recently read an article that Scotland banned smoking in all public places in the entire country! Woo Hoo for Scotland, way to go! In just one year of research the hospital admissions for respiratory problems of NON smokers was down 17%. That's just one year! I am so glad Chicago is now smoke free. I hated going to restaurants when we first moved here,now it's a pleasure.
I recycle too AJ, and get quite upset at my hubby when he puts something recyclable in the garbage!

Carole said...

My mom really set a good example for us. There are certain things I would never ever even think about throwing in the garbage. I assumed all other people were exactly the same. I mean, if it's recyclable then WHY would you put it in the garbage??? A few years ago I was at someone's house and she put every single thing that she used in the meal prep (jars, cans, plastics, cardboard) into the trash. I almost had a heart attack. :) I really wanted to go dig it all out!

So, that's my story. Of course, there's always someone out there who does way more than you do, so I would say that I'm a pretty average citizen when it comes to recycling. I'd like to answer "fanatical" to your survey, but that's not the reality. (although I suppose it's all relative!)

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh, I hope that wasn't me, Carole!
I might have been less than fastidious about recycling a few years ago. Now I try to recycle whatever I can.

Packaging is such a big problem; it's hard to avoid. And I avoid bulk foods ever since we had an Indian Meal Moth infestation and I read that 90% of bulk food containers have the larvae! Yuck. Say it isn't so at Wegs!!

I am loving my cloth diapers though! I wish I switched sooner. The sheer volume of our diaper garbage bothered me for a while, but it was the "they take up to 500 years to decompose" that put me over the edge. I hope I can keep it up until potty training!



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