Conservation is our responsibility, and it’s something we can all do every day at home and work. There are several tips that can help decrease our environmental footprint while increasing conservation and money saved at the same time.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – the Three R’s of Conservation. Americans throw away billions of cans, bottles and jars every year in addition to packaging materials. Unfortunately most end up in landfills or dumps, where it can take hundreds of years for them to decompose. According to FactMonster.com, “Glass has been found in perfect condition after 4,000 years in the Earth!”
Reducing consumption produces less waste. If you don’t need an item, don’t purchase it. Also, purchase items in recyclable containers or packaging. If you need an item but won’t use it often, see if you can borrow it. Compost – it will benefit both you and the environment. Set aside a spot in your yard where you can discard food and plant materials. In time, they’ll decompose and the compost is great for enriching the soil in your yard and gardens.
Other ways to reduce consumption include paying bills and reading newspapers and magazines online, printing only when necessary (home and work), and asking to be removed from junk mail/advertising lists. Turn off lights at home and work when you leave a room, and save water by turning off the faucet while brushing teeth.
With many cities proposing ordinances which would require grocers to charge a 10-cent fee on paper and plastic bags, re-use cloth sacks! They’re sturdy and last for years, plus you’ll be saving trees. Place several sacks in the front seat or side door panel in your car so they’re always with you wherever you go.
For school or work lunches, use plastic containers or reusable lunch bags. And don’t throw away shoe boxes or plastic food tubs as they make handy, stackable storage containers for craft or other loose items around the house or work.
Donate unused clothing, shoes, toys, electronics, furniture or any other items you don’t need or want. There are plenty of places to drop off items and some organizations even schedule pickups, especially for larger items. As a bonus, you can deduct these items on taxes.
Have a garage sale and make some extra cash, or give unused items to friends and relatives. Frequent flea markets or swap meets.
Remember, it’s not only important to recycle items like paper bags, newspapers, aluminum cans, glass bottles, milk cartons and cardboard (to name a few), but it’s also important to purchase items made from recycled materials. Most residential garbage services offer recycling bins that you can put out alongside your regular trash container for weekly curbside pickup.
We only have one Earth – let’s conserve it. As children head back to classrooms to learn the Three R’s of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, it’s time for all of us to learn and practice the Three R’s of Conservation—Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
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