"As a stay-at-home mom, I have made recycling one of my hobbies. It's part of a lifestyle change my family has made for daily green living. I'd like to share some of the tips I've learned.
Recycling is actually the third in a three-step program of conscious actions you can take to:
- Re-use, then
Paper or plastic - or neither? How do you carry your items home? Grocery shoppers use nearly 40 billion bags each year. Most are only used once and thrown away. Plastic bags are made with petroleum, a non-renewable resource, and they do not decompose as organic materials do. Paper bags are just as bad, since using them depletes our shrinking forests. A sturdy cloth bag is a nice long-term investment to replace plastic or paper grocery bags.
I don't have very many plastic bags at home because I try to remember to use the re-usable cloth bags (I have an arsenal, for the BIG store trips). Sometimes I do forget to bring them, but I always request the bagger put as many items in each plastic bag as possible.
But, the bags I do bring home NEVER just get thrown away. I re-use them as liners in the trash receptacles in my bathroom and kitchen. If you don't have any re-usable cloth bags at home, and your favorite store either doesn't carry them or they’re too expensive, go to a thrift store or a Goodwill store. You can find them for under a dollar.
What about re-using things you used to throw away? For example, keep a personal size plastic bottle and re-fill it from a jumbo size container. It’s also money-saving, because you pay for the small-size packaging. You will need to keep a variety of plastic funnels, but make sure you write “TOXIC” on those funnels used for re-filling cleaning products, so you don’t mix it up with water funnels. And, speaking of water, how many personal water bottles do you buy in a year? They're all sitting in a landfill somewhere right now. Those bottles can certainly be re-filled from a gallon jug and re-used several times, and all it takes is a funnel.
I recycle EVERYTHING I can; I have six places to throw away trash in my home! A basket for glass, one for plastic bottles, one for aluminum cans, one for biodegradable garbage, a trash can for any other recyclables and another can for regular trash. When we have guests over, I explain where everything goes. If they forget and they throw anything recyclable in the regular trash, I automatically dig it out and organize it, no matter how dirty or disgusting it might be. That's what hand soap is for! It's like a daily ritual for me, and it can be one for you too. Once it becomes a habit, you separate the things you're throwing away without even thinking about it. Every little bit helps, and it only takes an extra 30 seconds each time you throw something away.
It’s the little things that make the biggest difference! If each person just recycled their trash, and did nothing else eco-friendly, it would make a huge impact. Recycling is easy and available in most US cities.
The more we, as humans, care about our daily, individual environmental impact, the better off we’re leaving the planet for future generations.
- Susie Feldman"