Monday, May 3, 2010

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - Part 3

Here it is ... the post you've been waiting for. This is the final post in our three part series on the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle). If you missed the first two "episodes" ... or if you'd just like to revisit these articles ... click on the following links:

Part 1 (Reduce)

Part 2 (Reuse)

OK ... so ... now that we have reduced our consumption of everything and have reused what we do have, what's next? Recycle! This is the part of the process that we're probably the most familiar with. Since I've talked a lot, in other articles, about the "why" of our efforts ... I'm not going to discuss it this time ... I'm mostly going to talk about just doing it.

Many communities in our country encourage recycling and have made it relatively easy for us to do so. Some cities offer curb side pickup ... homeowners, or those living in homes, can set out their sorted recyclables and they are hauled away to become new products. Some areas don't even ask that the recyclables be sorted ... they do it for you. For those that don't have curb side pickup, there may be a recycling center close by. Check with your City Hall or waste management company to find out what your recycling options are ... as well as information on what can be recycled.

As I've mentioned before, I live in an apartment. We have a recycle bin for cardboard but nothing else. Our recyclables must be hauled to one of the centers in our city. While I've wanted to recycle and do my part, the truth is that I've found it difficult to accomplish in a small space. There's the space required for containers ... there's the potential smell ... there's driving to a center ... simply put, there's the EFFORT. But how can I write a blog about being kinder to the environment and not do everything that I can possibly do to reduce my footprint? Good question! So, I made up my mind to find a way to accomplish this task without making myself crazy. You know the old saying ... "where there's a will, there's a way". We began to look around for a space that would be convenient and ... out of sight (one of my personal criteria). With a little rearranging, we were able to put recycle containers in our laundry room. We have room for two containers ... not enough to sort out everything but we can toss everything into those two containers and do the sorting at the recycle center. We've also converted the garbage can in our office to a paper-only can. When our containers are full, we load them into the car and head out to the center. Once there, we each grab a container and start sorting and tossing. We have fun with it ... seeing who is the best "tosser" ... who is the fastest. And in the end ... we've not only had fun with the task, we leave feeling pretty good about our efforts.

Here are a few helpful hints to make recycling successful:

  • Rinse out plastic, glass and metal containers so that there is no smell (nothing will end your recycling efforts faster than smelly containers in your home).
  • Place your containers somewhere convenient ... usually close to the kitchen. Make it as easy as possible to toss things into them.
  • Remove paper labels from containers ... this helps companies use the materials.

So give it a try. I suggest starting out with the easy stuff ... paper, plastic, metal and glass. If you're not sure about what can be recycled, just check the Internet ... there are all kinds of sites with helpful information.

I can now proudly say that I reduce, reuse ... and recycle.

As always, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you think of this site ... what suggestions you might have for improving it ... and any ideas that you have for reducing our footprint on the earth.