Recycling is not just a way to become more energy efficient and save costs around the home, it is an essential part in becoming more environmentally aware. Once everyone reduces their consumption demands and use products like eco-friendly beverage packaging, future generations will be able to enjoy the benefits of living in an unpolluted environment.
But when you think of recycling do you sigh and think that you just don’t have the time or energy to do it yourself? Do you see visions of hundreds of thousands of empty plastic bottles in some far-away factory getting ready to be melted down?
Do you think that recycling is something that has to be hard; otherwise if it’s not hard, then it doesn’t count? Well, recycling isn’t something difficult, or something you have to go out of your way to participate in.
The kids can become very active in recycling glass bottles, tin cans, newspapers etc. for the recycle collectors the councils usually send out every week. It is a great skill to teach them, and they learn best by the example you set them.Once you become aware of the benefits that recycling makes to your annual home energy costs, you will become a lifetime fan.
Recycling Tips Include How To Prevent The Excess In the First Place!
The idea of recycling is to reuse an item rather than toss it into the trash and have it end up filling space in a landfill, right? Here’s a thought; why not have the waste in the first place?
Recycling, at its best, is the prevention of excess. Keeping that in mind and taking the steps to incorporate the changes into your life will further enhance the lack of waste and will make it much easier for landfills not to get so over-filled; because over-filled landfills are not a pretty sight and not what we want in our future or in the future of our children, down through the generations.
Prevention of waste takes just a little forethought, and we are all capable of that.
1) Be aware of the items you purchase and how they are packaged.
Some manufacturers use layers of wrapping that will just get tossed into the trash because there isn’t another use for it. Try not to purchase such items.
Do a little looking, a little digging, a little research and find items that have less packaging and stick to only buying them. I believe the manufacturers will get the hint when consumers start paying attention to the waste one product makes and opt for its competitor.
2) A good way to utilize this kind of thinking is to buy in bulk.
Buying in bulk cuts way down on the packaging and more often than not, it is a better buy just by the price. That’s a win-win, in my book!
If you have to buy something that has an excess of packaging, stretch your mind a little and figure out what you can use that excess for and then put it to good use.
3) Reuse your Plastic shopping bags, or don’t use them at all when you shop
A great way to curb the surplus in a landfill is to reuse things and an easy one to do this with is the plastic bags you get to carry your groceries home in. Rather than getting the bags home, emptying the contents and putting them away and throw the used bag into the trash, think about the different things you can use that bag for; in my house all of our home-lunches are carried to and from school in reused plastic bags.
We even reuse the bags over and again, until we know that nothing will stay bagged but will fall out. Just by reusing items like this will cut down greatly on the stuff that is filling up our precious space-craved landfills.
We also use the plastic shopping bags as liners for all our rubbish bins around the house, including paper bins, and bathroom and kitchen bins.
At my grocery store the store has manufactured mesh bags with the company’s logo on it and they sell them for less than a dollar. These are excellent for reuse because they last a lot longer than the plastic bags do and if you continue to bring these bags to the store rather than the plastic or even the paper bags that is a few more less that will ever leave the store.
Nowadays you can buy some very sturdy linen and calico fabric carry all bags that not only last for years, but are also washable so that if you have a spill, you can just throw it in the laundry.
4) Recycling Kids Toys
One of the biggest mistakes parents make, especially in the time when their family is young, is to buy more toys than their kids can possibly ever play with. If instead you buy fewer, but better quality toys, you will be pleased with how durable they are, and the kids are much more likely to appreciate them and care for them.
The toys that last are usually the ones that are made from good, solid materials; like wood. Wood is such a great material to make things from and as long as it’s FSC-certified, you won’t have to worry about harmful toxins coming off when the child is teething and the bonus is that it could last for several generations.
Find toys that will last for a long time and can either be passed down through the generations or re-sold for a little pocket money. Keep in mind that when it comes to children and toys, more is not better and making informed purchases based on the child and the quality of how the toys are made, are in the hands of adults.
You can also be part of recycling toys by joining a toy library, where you can take toys out for the kids to play with, just like a book library. Then when the kids become bored with it, trade it in at the library for another toy.
5) Buy and Sell second hand items:
Once an item no longer suits your needs, sell it on eBay or Craig’s List, hire a trestle table to sell your goods at your local flea markets or have a weekend Garage sale if you have enough items to make the effort worthwhile. You could also talk to your neighbors, or relatives and friends, to see if they are also interested in joining you to sell their own unwanted items.
And when you are looking to add something to your home consider buying pre-loved items instead of brand new ones. Second hand books, especially school books, can save the family a fortune every year.
Same with school uniforms that are normally available through your school, and look for other family clothing items that you can buy as ‘vintage’ clothing in retail outlets that specialize in recycling top quality clothes, or your local St Vincent or Salvation Army retail outlet.
Furniture is an obvious item to look for from pre-loved sources, but also consider refrigerators, fans, washing machines etc that can often be bought with warranties, from retailers that accept ‘trade-ins’ when they sell new appliances.
And if you really can’t make the effort to sell your goods yourself, be sure to at least donate your items that are in good condition, to local charitiesthat sell them for fundraising or give them to local families in need.
6) Barter and Swap for the Items and Services You Want:
It has become much more popular in the past 10 years to swap items or to barter services with friends and associates to get what you want, but not have to spend cash for it.
The old saying “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” really is true in this case. If you grow too many vegetables for your family to use, swap some with a neighbour or friend who grows something else, or in return for their help with your garden, or painting the house. You get the idea. You are sure to have some items (or time) in surplus that you can swap for some one else’s time or products.
You can swap baby sitting with someone in return for mowing their lawns or weeding their garden, doing their ironing, washing their car… possibilities are absolutely endless once you start to think in this way.
Always consider Bartering opportunities before you pull out your wallet, as you never know who might just want what you have to offer!
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When you’re just starting to go green, it helps to understand the major foundations of all going green ideas.
With all of the media coverage on issues like, acid rain, loss of rain forests, endangered animals, the depleting ozone layer and even former Vice President Al Gore’s pet project, global warming, it’s an easy thing to feel over-whelmed and small on this great space. But the reality is this; if not you, then who?
As an individual you can’t control factories pouring toxins into water ways or prevent oil leaks that endanger some species, but you can make an impact, none the less. How? First, by not adding to the madness and wasteful ways others are handling items and materials that can be recycled and secondly, and maybe more importantly, you can make an impact by being a leader in the crusade to save the planet by doing the right things.
It’s a well-known fact that when we are parents we are the top role-models for our children and that they will imitate what they see us do. Even if you are not a parent, you can still lead the way for others by taking on the awesome responsibility of being the leader.
Imagine the people you come in contact with in your neighborhood who see that you don’t just talk about recycling but every week your trash collection is separated and ready for the recycle truck.
What if the people you work with come to notice that instead of having your coffee every morning in a throw-away cup from the local coffee chain, you are drinking from a mug you brought from home that you rinse out and reuse?
Can you just imagine the impact you would have for someone who is maybe not quite recycling like they should but decides that, after seeing that you take this responsibility seriously, decides to change the way they do things and follow suit?
Most people don’t recognize the impact they have everyday on people in their lives that they may or may not have a connection with. As a leader you “walk the talk” by abiding by the causes that mean the most to you and not just by saying the words.
We are all aware of people around us and never know what we may do that will make a difference for another person. Don’t misuse this opportunity to make an impact for recycling.
When you recycle yourself, believe that there are people who are watching and making decisions everyday, by watching how you handle yourself. Big issues are often started with a few concerned, aware people, well before the word gets out to big corporations and law makers that there is a change that needs to be made.
Make every step you take count for something. Do your part in the efforts to keep our planet healthy; reduce, reuse, recycle.
I have a terrible habit of leaving lights on when I leave a room. I seem to be someone who, when doing any kind of work, whether it’s writing or stripping wallpaper, I need a lot of light around to do it.
The first two ways I found to conserve energy and count myself in as a “recycler” was to turn off lights as I left a room. Sounds easy, right? Well, that’s because it is easy. The only thing I had to do was remind myself that I was no longer going to waste energy by leaving lights on in a room that no one was occupying.
There hasn’t been a doorway I’ve walked through in the past 6 months or so that I haven’t given a quick inventory before passing through the threshold and thinking, “Did I leave any lights on?”
The great thing is, the times that I have left a light on, I’m given the final opportunity to stop and turn around and turn off the lights before leaving the room for good. Is this a difficult change? Like I said, it didn’t happen as soon as I thought about my part in the effort to recycle, but it is something I have allowed myself to consider on a daily basis.
The other way I have found to easily adhere to this recycling thing is that I changed my lightbulbs. Yup, that simple act of replacing a burned-out bulb with one of the new, energy saving kind has really been a big help.
The newer bulbs use up to 75% less energy when lighting a room and they will last up to ten times longer, too. How can you beat that? And there wasn’t any effort on my part; all I did was replace the bulb with the new and improved bulb and have made quite the impact on my electric bill.
The good news is this; there are easy ways to stay on track with recycling and with saving energy to make your home more energy efficient, and you don’t have to look very far to find them!