The Essential Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Everyday Guide
Reading, writing, and arithmetic aren’t the only three Rs we should be teaching in elementary school. Let’s try reducing, reusing and recycling.
If we focus more on reducing our carbon footprint by reusing and recycling everyday products, the next generation will have a planet to hand down to their children.
We all want to do our part when cutting down on waste and water consumption, but it can be hard to know what to do on a daily basis.
Green living is much more than just tossing plastic into a recycling bin. it’s all about changing our daily habits and lifestyle to support the Earth. Check out this essential reduce, reuse, recycle everyday guide.
Change Your Lifestyle
You can save a lot of energy with just a few changes to daily life. Reducing what you use on a regular basis is an essential part of helping the Earth. Do you use a straw when you order a drink? Plastic drinking straws are one of the contributors to ocean pollution. They aren't biodegradable and often end up in the stomachs and lungs of aquatic life. Americans use about 500 million straws a day. Scientists estimate there could soon be more straws in the ocean than fish. If you must use a straw, invest in a reusable one. Even better, drink out of the cup or your own water bottle!
Turn Off the Lights
Get into the habit of using only the lights that you actually need in your home. It’s a great way to save energy. Teach children to turn the light off as they leave a room. Even if a room has multiple light sources, cutting down on a few of them will help reduce your energy consumption. Consider investing in a timer, or a motion-detecting light switch that automatically turns the light off when you leave the room.
Adjust the Thermostat
Smart technology can also save money and energy when it comes to your thermostat. A programmable thermostat allows you to automatically turn the temperature up or down while you're at work or in bed. A thermostat that connects to your smartphone lets you make changes while you're away. A few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter will help save a lot of energy. Throw a few more blankets on the bed in the winter or wear lightweight clothing in the summer to help combat the change.
Choose solar lights for the outdoor lighting around your home. Line pathways with solar light spikes that easily fit into the ground. Choose solar powered flood, garage, and porch lights to maximize your savings.
Automatic sprinklers intended to be labor-saving devices can be wasteful if they water your lawn in the middle of a rainstorm. Make a point to turn the timer off when rain is in the forecast. There’s also no need to water the grass every day, (in fact that could cause disease and fungus problems.) Most sprinkler systems use about 2,000 gallons each time they water, so watering twice or three times a week at most is plenty.
Consider placing a rain barrel under your downspouts to collect rainwater and use it for your plants and lawn.
Reuse Common Items
Using something more than once not only saves on money but also creates less daily waste.
Use both sides of printer paper in the office or at home. Double-sided printing helps cut down on paper consumption. If you have children, make a scratch paper box for all of those printed documents. That scratch paper is great for craft projects or drawing.
Invest in some rechargeable batteries that can last much longer than single-use options. Having a dedicated outlet for recharging batteries will make it easier for the family to switch batteries out for recharged ones.
The world uses more than 1.3 billion single-use cups every day. Think ahead and bring along a refillable water bottle when traveling in the car. Brew your own coffee at home and head to the office with a nice travel mug that can be easily rinsed out at the end of the day.
Recycle Old Items
Turning an old worn-out item into something that is brand new, or upcycling, is a great way to use the same material over and over again.
Recycled carpet remnants turn into many of the plastic pieces used to build cars and trucks. Recycling old carpet not only saves it from taking up space in the landfill but also helps create a supply for another industry.
●Wine Bottles and Corks
Wine bottles can be filed and turned into drinking glasses. Try dropping battery powered lights into the bottles, and using them for garden lights at your next party. The corks can be glued together and serve as a bulletin board. Corks also make great kindling for your next outdoor fire.
Coffee grounds, banana peels, potato peels, and egg shells make a great compost for your garden. Instead of putting those table scraps in a non-biodegradable plastic bag, use them as compost and let them nourish your garden.
Invest in Bins
Recycle bins don’t have to be fancy, just durable. You may end up recycling more if you put a little bit of effort into a nice recycle bin or two. Placing recycle bins all over the house, as well as the office will make it easier for everyone to dispose of recyclable materials properly.
Learn the Code
Many cities and counties have rules on acceptable types of plastic. Learn to look at the bottom of a plastic bottle for the recycling code as well as on the label for recycling instructions. Knowing the allowed types of plastic will help make it easier to recycle daily.
Keep in mind, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. If we don’t stop trashing our planet, there will one day be less of it treasure.
Written for Vapur By Henry Walsh