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Reducing & Reusing

“the starting point for a better world is the belief that it is possible.” —norman cousins, journalist, professor, and world peace advocate

Although recycling is important, it’s only one part of the famous trio. Recycling can be easier, since it’s similar to throwing something away, just putting it in a different bin. However, there are many opportunities in a day to help the environment by reducing waste or reusing materials.

 

Reduce

Reducing waste often starts with reducing consumption. This implies purchasing durable goods that are made of recycled materials, do not contain hazardous material, and have minimum packaging. The Natural Resources Defense Council offers more tips for how you can reduce your impact on the environment, or visit iVillage

Another easy way to reduce waste is to cancel catalog subscriptions. If you receive unwanted catalogs, canceling them saves on trees, printing, recycling efforts, and landfill space. Fourth-grade students at The Park School are challenging you to cancel your catalog subscriptions. The students instruct you on how to do this in The Catalog Canceling Challenge.

Many municipalities don't accept catalogs as part of their recycling program, so find a second home for them. Keep them out of the landfill by dropping them off at a local hospital, assisted living home, senior residence facility, or school (where the catalogs will be used for art classes and other projects). It's the next best thing.

You can also reduce the amount of junk mail you receive by visiting DMA Consumers and following the steps on their site.

 

Reuse

By reusing materials, you’re recycling the product while reducing your waste. Reusing products can be easy and fun if you’re creative about it. Try these simple tips:

  • Use china instead of take-out containers if you don’t plan on eating somewhere else. This is one of the main goals of the McElroy Sorting System.
  • Refill a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water, juices, or soda.
  • Use decorative newspaper to wrap a present instead of wrapping paper.
  • Donate old clothes or electronics, so long as they’re still in good condition. BClean is one program that can help you donate these items.