Honestly, I can't remember a time when I did not recycle. Even in college, when we lived off campus I would have my roommate load up her SUV with all of the bottles and cans I had been saving up and drive around to find a recycling bin. She was not very amused, I'm sure. I just couldn't fathom throwing all of that away! (with six 20 yr old girls in one house, we had a lot of bottles and cans)
But, this whole Earth thing doesn't come as naturally to everybody. Life gets busy and adding one more thing to the list can be overwhelming. I very much understand that. So, here are some quick easy manageable tips in honor of our sweet Earth.
Reduce (this is the best place to start because it makes the most impact)
- Instead of buying the individual serving packets of an item (chips, applesauce, etc.) get the larger sized item and portion them out yourself.
- Get a steel water bottle and start filling it up with your own water/juice instead of using plastic bottles. They have kids sized ones for lunchboxes as well.
- Speaking of lunchboxes, use a reusable lunchbox and reusable containers instead of plastic ziplock bags.
- Take your own bags to the grocery store (I keep a small one in my purse and diaper bags for those quick trips to Target where you would probably forget the bag in the car.) Most stores will give you a small discount for this.
- Cloth Diaper! Yes, you can do it!! I promise. It's NEVER too late to start (if your children are still in diapers I mean). You will save a ton of money (which is paper, right?!?) and be shocked at the small amount of trash you will have to deal with. Get two diapers and start small. It is worth the small amount of extra effort. As MODG says, let's save the baby penguins, ok?
- There are a ton of ideas on Pinterest for reusing items in your house.
- Look on Craigslist for something that you need. You'll save money, and save an item from going into a landfill.
- And on that note, put your things on Craigslist. You'll MAKE money and save things from going into a landfill. Seriously, YHL just sold a used toilet on there. People will buy your stuff!
- Thrifting and shopping consignment are other ways to Reuse items instead of buying new.
Recycle See how this comes last? Recycling is awesome, but it still means that items have been processed and used and to recycle them takes processing. It's best to use this as a last option by sticking with Reduce and Reuse.
But, I L.O.V.E recycling. There's just a good feeling that I have when I fill up my bin. Just me? Yes? ok.
- Check with your local city or county services to see what can and cannot be recycled in your area. Most city recycling programs won't take the plastic bag you received from the grocery store, but you can save them and return them to be recycled at the store you got them from. Even your old electronics can be recycled. Try an experiment to only have one bag of trash a week for a family of 4 (2 for a family of more than 6). See it as a challenge.
- If the city comes by once a week to pick up your recycling FROM YOUR HOUSE, then really, you need to be putting something in that bin. I mean, I'm all for free will and personal choices, but there's really no reason not to put at least some cans and bottles in the recycling bin instead of the trash can.
"We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Grandchildren"- Native American Proverb