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The ecological mantra "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" describes a set if ideas that help you conserve resources and decrease the mounting piles of waste shipped to landfill sites around the world every day. Nature works in a cycle so that waste becomes food for other living systems and we should try to do the same. Once you have the 3 R's down cold, take a look at some of the conservation suggestions specific to: your home, transportation, electricity, furnace and appliances.
By reducing your overall consumption you will also make it easier to REUSE and RECYCLE as you'll have less of a need in both those areas. By reducing or limiting your consumption you will decrease the strain on the world's resources.
Choose products that are:
Reuse often starts with the purchasing stage. Rather than buying plastic wrap that you use once and send to a landfill site, buy a plastic container you can use again and again, to store items in. If those plastic grocery bags go straight to the trash after unloading in the kitchen, then replace them with cloth bags.... and put them right back into the car when you empty them. That way they are with you when you need them next time.
As part of REDUCE, you have purchased longer lasting items...get them repaired should they break. Look at good high-quality second hand items when you need something "new". Look around, there are lots of uses for empty plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, etc. Be creative!
You've reduced your total consumption, reused the items you did purchase and yet you still have empty cans, boxes, plastic, etc. Time to RECYCLE. Again, the recycle process often starts at the purchasing stage. Wherever possible, if the item you need is available made from recycled material...that's your choice. And of course, your own paper, cardboard, cans, glass, most plastics, and metals can be sent to the local recycle location. Most large appliances that have come to the end of their lifecycle can be recycled - fridge, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher. Look in the yellow pages (internet) for your nearest recycle plant. If you have more than one item you can sometimes get them picked up for free. If you and a few neighbors can take a few items to the plant, you may even get paid for your efforts.
Recycle also includes composting. Keep your "landfill trash" to a minimum. One or two compost bins located in the corner of the lot, can take care of your grass clippings and kitchen scraps. Try to mix your compost... green items with brown items and throw in a few handfuls of dirt for every 3 or 4 inches of material. Keep a medium sized sealable container under the kitchen sink, where it's easy to use. If you live in a snowy climate, keep a 5 gallon (recycled) pail in the garage or outside a back door, to empty the kitchen compose container into. It saves the trips to that frozen compost, way back in the far corner of the lot.
Fact: You can power a TV for 3 hours, from the energy saved by recycling 1 aluminum can.
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