|Written by Jan Thinks|
INTRODUCTION: Today, people are producing trash at a record rate all around the world. In the news there reports of trash barges floating endlessly in the ocean and plastic debris islands deep within the ocean from our disguarded water bottles. Every day consumers open packages designed to attract attention and deliver a convenient, perfect product tossing all the packaging into the trash with no thought of recycling. In today's world, consumption results in trash production - and this also goes for the big stuff like cars, stoves, refridgerators, washers, dryers, TVs, computers, lawn mowers, etc. that eventually stop working and need to be replaced. No one wants a landfill in their backyard, but the increasing mountains of trash we are producing must go somewhere.
The reality is that 70- 80% of what ends up in the trash can be recyled or reused without major effort on the part of each individual. Here are a few simple steps each person could take everyday that would drastically reduce the problem and start to save our planet:
STEP 1: Recycle ALL paper, plastic and glass. If in doubt, try to recycle it. Almost every municipality has some form of curbside recycling. Use to trash cans in your home - one for trash and a larger one for recyclables. If you don't have curbside recycling, make a little money by taking your collected recylables to a recycling center. Many grocery stores have vending machines for recycling for your convenienc.
STEP 2: Compost anything organic that will decay and give back to the earth. Curbside recycling often offers lawn waste pick-up. If so, toss in your kitchen scraps including coffee grounds and their filters and dead flowers.
STEP 3: Buy recycled products and new products made from recycled materials. Concentrating our purchasing votes on these types of products will encourage manufacturers to look for recycled material options.
STEP 4: Reuse whatever you can before finally discarding it. An easy example of this would be to use an old coffee can for a painting project saving you the cost of purchasing another container and eventual trashing of two containers.
STEP 5: Repair broken items for continued use as long as you can. Eventually, repair is neither cost effective nor physically possible. When this is the case, look for options to have the item recycled. Often, the components have recyclable value that is worth someone's time.
STEP 6: Pick up for planet. There will always be inconsiderate people that don't care about others that will liter. Don't just step over something, pick it up and dispose of it properly. This not only improves your immediate environment, but most people think twice about litering when there is nothing else on the ground.
TIPS: Doing your part to save the planet has many rewards. The greatest of these rewards is the great way you will feel everytime you make a conscience effort. Feel good about what you do and others will follow your lead.
WARNINGS: The more that you do to save the planet, the more that you will how others don't seem to care. The truth is they probably do care, they just are not aware of what they are doing or not doing. Set the example.