Action Tips: Ways to Recycle and Reduce Waste

Recycling
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We all know that we're supposed to reduce, reuse, and recycle, but what exactly does that mean? It’s not just putting your soda bottles out every week and using grocery bags as lunch bags. Here are some other ideas that are easy enough for you to do and encourage others to do as well.

  • Reuse bags and containers. Brown paper bags are great for wrapping packages. Wash out plastic containers and glass jars you buy food in and use them as Tupperware.
  • Use old newspapers as wrapping paper and jazz it up with pretty ribbon or a bow. If you’re lucky you might get Sunday’s color comic section.
  • Instead of throwing them out, donate clothes and toys to a local shelter or second hand store.
  • Organize an in-home recycling center and teach your family how to use it. Have separate bins for glass, plastics, and newspaper/cardboard. Make a deal with your family that if they put their recyclables in the bins, you’ll take them to the curb.
  • Additionally, create a bin for e-waste (old cell phones, mp3 players, etc.). Instead of dropping these items at the curb, take them to any Best Buy and drop them off as part of DoSomething.org's eWaste program.
  • Be fancy! Replace the use of paper napkins at dinnertime with cloth napkins. You can wash these a few times a week or whenever they're dirty. Use dish towels to wipe up messes instead of paper towels. This too will help cut down on the amount of garbage your household produces.
  • Choose paper over plastic for your party. Having people over and want to use disposable plates and cups? Skip the plastic and get paper ones. These break down easier in the environment and don’t deplete the ozone layer as much (although it’s better to nix the disposables and use washables!).
  • Ask the dry cleaners if they will take back their wire hangers and use them again. Or even keep them for yourself and put them to good use.
  • Grocery Store Cashier: "Paper or plastic?" You: "Neither!" When grocery shopping, take your own reusable canvas or cloth bags (or ask your parents to).

Sources:

The Hub
Earth 911
How to Prevent Pollution