What are your favorite ways to reduce, reuse & recycle?
“Save the Planet” is one of my employer’s mottos. (The others are “Take Time to Be Kind”, “All Is One”, and “Love All, Serve All”. Can you tell the company began at the height of the Hippie movement?) I think the company tries to practice what it preaches, but we are headquartered in Florida and, well, this isn’t the most environmentally friendly state. But I digress.
During my trip to the grocery store last night, I was able to do all three R’s. I brought my own shopping bag (which my mom made out of my most worn pair of maternity jeans), thus reducing the number of plastic bags I would ultimately throw away. By bringing my own bag, I was reusing my old jeans that were too worn to even donate to Goodwill. And, to top it all off, the previous night, I stuffed that bag with the excess plastic bags cluttering the cupboard under the kitchen island, brought them to the store, and put them all into their recycling bin.
On a daily basis, I do a lot of the three R’s without thinking. That’s what happens when you grow up in California: it becomes second nature. At work, I have a mug so that I don’t need to use the paper cups for hot drinks (I’m actually having hot cocoa with a bit of coffee in it today) or the plastic cups for cool drinks. When I do use the plastic cups, I’ll bring them home and toss them into our recycling bin. I recycle all the paper I use, though I admit I could do a better job of using the blank sides for scratch paper. Maybe that can be a mid-year resolution. But rather than printing out reports, presentations, and correspondences, we’re all encouraged at work to send things electronically (which would explain why, on this floor, we have only 2 photo copiers, neither of which are color; 1 color printer, the toner of which is only replaced 4 times a year; and 5 printers). How’s that for reducing? At home, our recycling bin needs to get picked up more often than the trash, even after parties.
Now that I’m a parent, I’m trying to do more eco-friendly things than just reducing, reusing, and recyling. That’s why my husband bought a hybrid car when we needed to replace his car, and why I’m saving up for a hybrid of my own (which I hope to purchase later this year). I’ve shunned a lot of my old cleaning standbys (Pledge, Dawn, Tilex, and, most recently, Electrosol) in favor of more eco-friendly brands (Method and Seventh Generation). And now I’m trying to purchase more organic foods when I have the option.
The only thing I don’t do, and this is mainly because Baby C goes to daycare, is use cloth diapers. Sadly, I have to admit I’m filling landfills with my son’s used Pampers. Moreover, I collect his dirty diapers in plastic grocery bags. [sigh]
It will take a good deal of effort to undo this damage, I know, but it will be worth it when I see my son doing his part to help save the planet, too.