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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 8:13 PM Comments comments (9)
CLEAN, HEALTHY, GREEN- wouldn't it be great  if we could all describe our environment in this way?  Yesterday was Earth Day, and this got me thinking about the impact that we all could have on our surroundings just by making one little change in our daily habits/practices.  Think about it:  if you were to consciously eliminate or reduce waste, don't you think you would effect a change, and a positive one at that too?   

According to EPA, the amount of waste generated in the US is on the increase, and, there are benefits to be gained by adopting sustainable practices.  Shared below are some of EPA's guidelines, on what you can do to reduce and reuse waste:

AT HOME
  • Reduce food waste by using up the food you already bought and have in the house instead of buying more. You already paid for it - so use it!
  • Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
  • Reuse items around the house such as rags and wipes, empty jars and mugs, party decorations, and gift wrap.
  • Buy products in concentrate, bulk, and in refillable containers. They reduce packaging waste and can save you money!
  • Return used car tires to retailers or wholesalers that recycle or retread them. Tires are banned from most landfills, and illegally dumped tires become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.
  • When buying products, check the labels to determine an item's recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.

AT WORK
  • Recycle office paper, newspapers, beverage containers, electronic equipment and batteries. Check with your local recycling facility to see what materials they accept.
  • Consider using safer alternatives to common and potentially hazardous chemicals used in products and processes.
  • For businesses, there may be federal and/or state regulations on the disposal of electronics and mercury-containing lamps.
  • To help reduce waste, use two-sided printing and copying, buy supplies made with recycled content, and recycle used printer cartridges.
  • Before replacing a computer that no longer fits your needs, investigate enhancing the computer's capacity by installing a hard disk drive, chip, or memory-expansion card. Such modifications can be made with little know-how using the help of the manufacturer or a do-it-yourself guide.
  • When purchasing new electronics, consider a leasing program that includes proper reuse and recycling.
  • After office festivities, put leftovers in recyclable containers, and share them with family, friends, or others. Donate whole, untouched leftovers from parties to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
 
AT SCHOOL(Students)
  • Before starting a new school year, sort through the school supplies on-hand. Many supplies, like notebooks or pens and pencils, can be reused or recycled. You can share your used books and other school supplies with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren.
  • For school dances or other events, decorations and other supplies can be borrowed or rented. If you buy these supplies, try adopting a theme that can be used from year-to-year, so that you can reuse them.
  • Many schools reuse text books to save money and reduce waste. Covering your textbooks with cut-up grocery or shopping bags helps reduce waste and keeps your books in good condition.
  • If you buy lunch, take and use only what you need: one napkin, one ketchup packet, one salt packet, one pepper packet, one set of flatware. Remember to recycle your cans and bottles, and separate your waste if your school has separation bins!
  • To reduce packaging waste, use school supplies wrapped with minimal packaging, use compact or concentrated products, or buy products in bulk.

AT SCHOOL
(Faculty & Staff)
  • Before starting a new school year, sort through your materials. Many supplies can be reused or recycled. Notebooks, folders, and binders can be reused.
  • To reduce packaging waste, use school supplies wrapped with minimal packaging, use compact or concentrated products, or buy products in bulk.
  • Borrow or rent your decorations and supplies for parties and events. If you buy these supplies, try adopting a theme that can be used from year-to-year, so that you can reuse your decorations and supplies.

ON THE GO
  • If staying in a hotel, check the bedding and linen policy with housekeeping. Some hotels ask that the customer request the bedding or linen be laundered by putting a specific note card on the bed and leaving the towels on the floor. This practice conserves water resources. If your hotel does not follow this practice, use a comment card to ask them to adopt it.
  • When you're at the mall, don't get a new shopping bag for every item-combine bags or put them in your backpack. (And be sure to hold onto the receipt!)
  • When you leave your hotel room, switch off the air conditioning, lights, and TV to reduce energy use.
  • Before you leave home, adjust the air conditioning and water heater thermostats to conserve energy.
  • While on your trip, remember to take only the amount of products that you need from restaurants or lodgings. Take only napkins, condiment packets, free brochures, maps, or coupons that you will actually use.