Saturday, November 8, 2008

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do Or Go Without

It's been one heck of a week. Other than the economy, we've pretty much gotten good news this week. Mr. President-elect Obama hasn't wasted any time, that's for sure. His transition team has made a list of 200 Bush actions to overturn. Among them are stem cell research (yeah!!) climate change (double yeah!!) and re-productive rights (infinitesimal yeah!!!) He's particularly looking to undo Bush regulations imposed for "overly political" reasons!! So far, so good.

One of the things that I hope happens under the Obama Administration (oh, I love saying that) is a nationwide recycling plan. There are many states that have no recycling programs in place.

Recycling is not only environmentally important, but it is also cost effective. It reduces the amount of waste for disposal, saves space in landfills, is more energy-efficient than burning materials, and conserves natural resources and, at this truly difficult time in the economy, would create new jobs.

Here in Rhode Island, many city and towns have been recycling for years. Hopefully the cities and towns that do not recycle will soon begin recycling!

I'll be the first to admit that it can be a pain in the neck to recycle at times. It's both convenient and annoying to always have a paper bag next to or under my desk for recycling papers. Every little piece of paper goes into that bag, and I mean every little piece of paper! Whether it's an envelope or a grocery list, it goes right in. And I always seem to have a pile of broken down cereal boxes and other paper packaging on the sideboard in my kitchen. It's just a few feet to the paper bag at my desk, but it sometimes takes a few trips before I remember to bring the paper packaging with me. Once the paper bag is filled, I take it out to the recycle container by the front steps.

Also on the kitchen sideboard are assorted plastic, aluminum and glass jars, jugs and containers that need to go into the plastic and glass wastebasket that's located in the front hall of my house. Again, once that wastebasket is filled, I transfer the contents to the recycle container outside.

So, while it's a little bit of work and a little bit of inconvenience having the recyclables hanging around the house, the satisfaction of being responsible and not adding more trash to the landfill makes it all worth it!

Another way to save the landfills from exploding is "Source Reduction" which is defined as reducing the volume of and decreasing the toxicity of your waste. It can be achieved through product design, package design, or by actions taken by individuals to reduce their waste. It is sometimes referred to as "waste reduction" or "pre-cycling." Reducing the amount of waste you create is more important than recycling or reusing because you can save money, energy and raw materials.

I've decided that I am going to join the organizations that are already lobbying for nationwide recycling. Here are some websites that have good information on how you can start recycling:

What grows in Rhode Island:

Grass Roots Recycling Network - Kids Recycle!:

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