Friday, January 27, 2012

The 3 Rs

This isn't my usual subject matter. I'm applying for scholarships, and has asked its applicants to share how we reduce, reuse and recycle. It would be my pleasure.

I've been fortunate enough to have recycling be a major part of garbage handling since I was very young, so it's been a habit for as long as I can remember to separate plastic, glass and paper.

As a child, I was responsible for can-crushing and storage. This laborious chore was rewarded every few months with a trip to our local recycling center, which would give me a few dollars in my hot little hands. Cash is such as excellent motivator when you're twelve and detest any chore that your parents deign to assign.

As an adult, I recycle everything I can, without really thinking about it. Garbage, yes, but also, I donate my old clothes and prefer to buy used for personal and household items.

I discovered a new way to reuse plastic grocery bags a while back, and even made christmas presents for friends and family. I'd fold the bags lengthwise several times, cut them into loops, then string the loops together to make a chain. From there, I crocheted that chain into new, more durable, but still fully recyclable shopping bags! Giving these as gifts was a hit and made me feel better about all those times I'd forgotten my cloth bags while grocery shopping.

As for reducing, I try not to buy items that come in a plastic container, and if I do, I reuse the package until I destroy it. I've also taken to making my own yogurt, which cuts way down on the amount of plastic tubs that I buy. I think it's important to use what we have to its ultimate potential, then find a way to make it useful again.

This planet is a bounty of resources, but they won't last forever. I like feeling like I'm doing my part to make those resources last as long as they can.


Migrainista said...

All great things :) I too try to live as responsibly as I can. Absolutely love your gift idea, so very clever!

Jessica said...

This post was pretty inspiring! Made me realize I'm not very good at any of those things...except reusing. I love buying old, vintage stuff. What can I do with those plastic containers I always get??? I eat a lot of yogurt, cottage cheese, margarine, sour cream...etc. And do NOT suggest I make my own! You know I can't even boil water! =)

steph said...

Jessica, I use the heck out of those plastic containers for storage, like for sewing or art supplies, rubberbands and thumbtacks, leftovers and dry goods. Also, my container gardens have always had at least one sawed off milk carton or old yogurt tub as a makeshift pot. It doesn't always look the prettiest, but cherry tomatoes from an old vinegar bottle are certainly just as good. :)