Conservation Station: Back to School: Recycling101
- Buy products that don't have a lot of packaging.Some products are wrapped in many layers of plastic and paperboard even though they don't need to be. You can also look for things that are packed in materials that don't require a lot of energy or resources to produce. Some products will put that information right on their labels.
- Borrow and share with friends and neighbors. Instead of buying something you're not going to use very often, see if you can borrow it from someone you know. Or if you own such an item let friends and neighbors know you are willing to share anytime.
- Reduce automobile usage. Cars use up energy and cause pollution. Some ways to reduce the environmental damage caused by cars include carpooling with friends, walking, taking the bus, or riding your bike instead of driving.
- Compost. If you don’t already, start a compost bin (review my previous blog on composting for more information). Some people set aside a place in their yard where they can dispose of certain food and plant materials. Over time, the materials break down through a natural process called decomposition. The compost is good for the soil in your yard and means that less garbage will go to the landfill.
- Reduce wasted through technology – your computer! Many newspapers and magazines are online now. Instead of buying the paper versions, you can find them on the Internet. Also remember that you should print out only what you need and use both sides of the paper. Everything you print that you don't really need is a waste of paper.
- Reduce energy use. Save energy by turning off lights that you are not using.
- Reduce water use. Save water by turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth.
- Reducing junk mail = reducing waste. Many people receive a large amount of advertisements and other unwanted junk mail. You can stop the mailings and reduce waste by writing to the following address and requesting that they take your name off of their distribution list:
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008
- Use reusable shopping bags. Bring reusable bags with you to the store (it’s helpful to keep them in your car so they are always on hand). Using these cloth bags again and again will reduce the amount of paper or plastic bags wasted every year. You'll be saving some trees too!
- Reuse plastic containers and lunch bags. Plastic containers and reusable lunch bags are great ways to take your lunch to school without creating waste.
- Be creative. Coffee cans, shoe boxes, margarine containers, and other types of containers people throw away can be used to store things from nails in your workshop to cookie containers for gifts during the holidays. Make each container a project, whether something useful or an arts and crafts project for your child. Use your imagination! Don’t think you’ll use it, ask your churches Sunday school classes or local preschool or daycare – maybe your fun containers can be turned into their projects.
- Donate or sell. Don't throw out clothes, toys, furniture, and other things that you don't want anymore. Somebody else can probably use them. You can bring them to a center that collects donations (i.e. The Clarksburg Mission, Goodwill, HOPE Domestic Violence Shelter) give them to friends, or even have a yard sale.
- Use plates and silverware. Don’t buy paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils. Instead use silverware and dishes and reusable coffee cups or reusable tumblers.
- Use reusable food containers. Store food in reusable plastic containers (maybe those old margarine tubs, Pringles cans, Ricotta tubs).
REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE