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Reduce, reuse, recycle. You may have heard of the 3 R’s, but what do they really mean and how can you incorporate them into your everyday life? The following pages will offer easy ways that you can reduce, reuse and recycle in your home.
Reduce, the most important of the 3 R’s, is minimizing the amount of materials you throw away. Simply put, the less you produce, the less you throw away! Americans have become very focused on consumption.
As a result, we
over buy and American’s throw away one-third of the food they buy in the grocery store.
Benefits of Reducing Conserve natural resources Reduce pollution Save local landfill space Save money
Purchase items with the least amount of packaging. Packaging represents about 30% of our waste and much of the packaging isn’t even needed to protect the product.
Avoid single-serving containers - buying in bulk can save money.
Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper.
Avoid disposables; instead, purchase durables such as cameras, razors, etc.
Use reusable containers with lids instead of plastic bags, plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil.
Use a mug instead of a Styrofoam cup.
Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
Shop carefully and buy only what you need - avoid impulse purchases.
Just say no! If you don’t need napkins, straws, condiments, etc., leave them behind at the restaurant or store.
When shopping, carry your own canvas bag.
Reducing Junk Mail Americans receive 200 million tons of unwanted mail, or junk mail, every year. Did you know that stopping your junk mail could save a tree and a half each year? Mail Preference Service, a consumer service sponsored by The Direct Marketing Association, is designed to assist consumers with decreasing the amount of national or commercial mail they receive at home.
To remove your name from certain mailing lists, all you have to do is register with Mail Preference Service (www.dmachoice.org
may take a few months before you notice a decrease in the amount of unwanted mail delivered to you. Local advertising mail will not be affected. To get off local mailing lists, write directly to the mailer and request that your name be removed from the mailing list.
Check out these websites for more help on reducing unwanted mail:
www.41pounds.org www.obviously.com/junkmail/ www.donotmail.org
Reuse is the easy process of using an item over and over again. For example, you can buy used compact discs rather than purchase new and you can donate or sell old compact discs instead of throwing them away. Various reuse businesses exist today such as thrift stores, consignment shops, used bookstores, repair shops and even garage or yard sales and flea markets. This section will offer you many options on ways to reuse common household items. For a complete list of organizations that accept donations of used items, see Appendix C and D.
Benefits of Reusing Save landfill space - by saving space in our present landfills, we reduce the likelihood of needing additional landfills in our area.
Save natural resources - there is no need to use raw materials to manufacture new items.
Save energy - producing new products takes energy. Reusing goods instead of purchasing new saves energy.
Help others - many area non-profits collect used goods and distribute those items to people that need them the most. For a complete list of these organizations, see Appendix D.
Did You Know? Reuse is actually better for the environment than recycling, because recycling requires resources, time and money to process materials or products into new usable items.
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