Friday, April 15, 2011

The 3 R's

Happy (late) Earth Day! My big green goal for this year is to work on the first two R's - reducing and reusing. As you can see from this shot of a fairly typical trash day, I have the third R (recycling) down pat!

We have very little trash. It's mostly pet and baby poop. Food and garden scraps go in the two compost piles. But the bulk of what we use that others might just throw away goes into recycling. For example, aside from the OJ jug and corrugated cardboard in our bins, I also have some (non-metallic) used wrapping paper and various packaging materials (box from Clara's bottles, pasta box, paper insert from air filter, etc).
One negative implication of the large amount of recycling we put out is that we consume way too much. It takes energy to recycle (and manufacture) these things, and it'd be better to find a way to consume less or reuse something that would otherwise be recycled

Potatoes grow in one of the compost bins... no need to buy a special "grow bag." (REDUCE)


I'm going to start my REDUCE plan with something simple: paper towels. I am going to keep one of those journals of how many paper towels I use and what for. The truth is, while some messes (like poop) I'm just not willing to clean with a cloth, most things I use paper towels for aren't such dirty jobs. Sometimes I'm too lazy to go get a clean kitchen towel from the laundry room and just use paper towels to dry the dishes, for example. I'm going to stop doing that right now. Hopefully the journal will guilt me into kicking the habit in other areas as well.


As far as REUSING, there are a lot of things that can be either reused or recycled, and I'm going to make a concerted effort to do the prior. For example, our local animal shelter (MARL) lines cages with newspaper, so I'm going to start (tonight!) saving our newspaper separately from the recycling to take over there.


I hope you all had a wonderful Earth Day! It's an amazing Mother we have...let's take care of her like she deserves this year.

p.s. if you're looking for a cute song to get kids into recycling, etc., check out "The 3 R's" on Jack Johnson's Curious George soundtrack. It's awesome :-)


Jan@Thanks for today. said...

I'm guilty of using too many paper towels too and am thinking about it more often now. The first step to cutting back is awareness! I'm not at the point where I can give them up completely, either but at least am willing to try to reduce. THanks for letting me know you wrote a post...happy earth day;-) Love those potatoes growing in your compost! Will you be able to harvest some of them at some point?

Ginger said...

Jan - yes, I will be able to harvest some. I do need to add a bunch of leaves and such raked up from unused areas of the yard to throw in there, so they'll grow up the plant some and not just at the base... I may just go do that right now!

The Sage Butterfly said...

Happy Earth Day! I love your potato bin. I bet they really do well in the compost bin. Good luck on your paper towel challenge. I learned so much when I did it, and I have cut back a lot. Like you, I don't know if I will be able to cut back completely, but I have cut back by more than half.