Monday, January 24, 2011

Recycling To Keep Our Planet Healthy

We've all heard the warnings; acid rain, global warming, landfills without any room, and on and on.  We don't recycle because it's the "in" thing to do; we recycle because we don't have any other options if we plan to leave the planet in good shape for the generations to come. Neither is being responsible for the environment just throwing stuff in a bin, either....

International Recycle SymbolImage via WikipediaWhen you think of recycling you should really think about the whole cycle; reduce, reuse and recycle.  Think about it; if you don't need it, don't get it.  If you have to get it, get something that can be used again and if you get something that needs to be recycled by the professionals, put it in the recycle bin.

These are easy concepts and yet there are still people out there who ignore the signs.  The signs aren't just the ones that bear the recycle logo, but the signs that the oceans are warming and the snow caps that were visible a few years ago are barely an outline as far up as you can see.  If you've seen the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth, you'll realize there's a pretty good chance that those of us a few miles inland from the coast will be looking at water-front property one day, without having to move.

We've been careless up to this point with the way we've treated the Earth and it's time to change; not just the way we do things but the way we think.  The days of brushing your teeth with the water running the whole time are over and if we want to stay with this forward motion, we can't go back.  We can't go back to A landfill in PolandImage via Wikipediathe days when we believed we had all the room in the world for our trashed "stuff."  The planet is getting full and we have to learn how to make less, use things more or find a way to reuse them again.

If you're traveling, use airlines that work with paperless ticketing (if you have to fly that is) and be sure to scope out hotels that are inline with the recycling idea.  Bring your own soaps and shampoos; leave the little bottles provided by the hotel for people who forget to bring their own.  Reuse your towels more than once and don't have the linens changed daily, let it go a day or two. 

Before you leave for a trip remember to turn down your thermostat and/or turn off the AC.  Unplug your electronics from the wall to stop possible leaking wattage while it's turned off.  Utilize power strips for plugging items in and turn off the whole strip when you're leaving the house. 

Use linen napkins that can be washed and reused instead of paper products, check your cleaning supplies for any that have the words dangerous, poisonous or hazardous and stop using them right now!  Whether it's through direct contact or drainage from a landfill, these chemicals are not healthy and have no business in our soil and our drinking water. (For some healthier and safer options, visit, and you can also get a free checklist for making your home less toxic.)

Be mindful of what you do, pay attention to the items you buy and always check yourself to see if you really need it or if it comes in a package with less waste.  (Remember, it's not JUST about recycling - don't forget the "reduce" and "reuse" parts, which are just as important, if not more.) We can all do our part and we will make a huge difference.

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