Growing up with a tree-hugging mother and a flower child step-mother, I was destined to learn the ways of the “environmental force”. I do remember weekends being spent picking up aluminum cans along the sides of roads. I learned at an early age how to tie a newspaper bundle. I was a founding member of our local Earth Club. Everything was composted, shredded, coded, sorted, crushed, repurposed and or recycled.
I sheepishly admit that by the time i got to college, I got burned out. It was so much to do! So much to remember! And as a freshman in college, although it was considered cool to think “green”, saving the planet was the last thing on my mind. I was too busy trying to save myself from freshman year overload!
Living a “green” life may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s just like every other big change in life. You need to take it a little bit at a time. When it comes to our environment, every little bit helps! And when done in baby steps, you soon get into the habit and discover it’s easy being “green”!
Let’s start simple:
Do you get the newspaper? Where do you put it when you’re done reading? Try placing it in a newspaper bin. There are many attractive designs so you can find one to fit your decor. The newspapers can pile up for 2 or more weeks depending on how often you get one. When the bin reaches it’s full capacity, you can tie the bundle with twine or just pile them in a cardboard box (which can also be recycled) and take them to you nearest recycling center. In many neighborhoods, you can drop them into your city-provided personal recycling bin at the curb. This solutiion takes minimal time and minimal effort. It’s my recommended place to start.
Do you drink canned drinks? For most people, this question is answered with a resounding “YES”! Recycle these cans! You don’t have to crush them, but if you do, they will take up less space and mean fewer trips to the recycling center (think “less gas used”). You can get a recyling bin to hold these cans, but even a trash can will do. Just place it somewhere convenient. If recycling isn’t convenient, you will be less likely to do it.
Don’t stop at just cans! You can toss all your aluminum in this bin. Aluminum foil, Aluminum tins, even tiny candy wrappers. Every little bit helps.
What do you do with your copier/printer/notebook paper? Recycled paper can be made into cardboard and other such paper items, but cardboard and those same other items cannot be recycled into fine copier or printer paper. Only the fine paper such as copier or printer paper can be recycled into that same type of fine paper. So if you are throwing all that paper out with the trash, trees need to be cut down to make new paper. Recycle your cardboard, recycle your newspapers, and PLEASE recycle your copier paper. You can shred it, but please recycle it. If your office does not currently recycle paper, start a campaign yourself and place a box out where people can easily find it. (Remember, if it’s not convenient, you won’t recycle) The large boxes that paper packets come in from the office supply company work well.
Do you order online or through catalogs? What do you do with the shipping boxes after you receive them? Re-use them! Sure, you can recycle them, but use them and use them until they can’t be used anymore…THEN recycle them. It takes energy to recycle materials so the more we can reuse something before we recycle it, the more energy we save. This is a program Space Savers has done for a long time. Of all the orders sent from our warehouse, 70% are being shipped out in recycled/reused boxes.
These are just a few of the things we can all do to help decrease the use of our natural resources. I remember hearing all the time, “You don’t miss something until it’s gone.” Well, I don’t want to put that saying to the test with trees, water, power, and fuel. I’d like to help conserve what we have and learn to live the “green” life.