The 4 R's

Reduce

Reducing the amount of waste you produce is the best way to help the environment.  There are lots of ways to do this. For example:


  • Buy products that don't have a lot of packaging. Some products are wrapped in many layers of plastic and paperboard even though they don't need to be. You can also look for things that are packed in materials that don't require a lot of energy or resources to produce. Some products will put that information right on their labels.

  • Instead of buying something you're not going to use very often, see if you can borrow it from someone you know.

  • Cars use up energy and cause pollution. Some ways to reduce the environmental damage caused by cars include carpooling with friends, walking, taking the bus, or riding your bike instead of driving.

  • Start a compost bin. Some people set aside a place in their yard where they can dispose of certain food and plant materials. Over time, the materials will break down through a natural process called decomposition. The compost is good for the soil in your yard and means that less garbage will go to the landfill.

  • You can reduce waste by using a computer! Many newspapers and magazines are online now. Instead of buying the paper versions, you can find them on the Internet. Also remember that you should print out only what you need. Everything you print that you don't really need is a waste of paper.

  • Save energy by turning off lights that you are not using.

  • Save water by turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth.

  • Lots of families receive a large amount of advertisements and other junk mail that they do not want. You can stop the mailings and reduce waste by writing to the following address and requesting that they take your name off of their distribution list.


Reuse

Instead of throwing things away, try to find ways to use them again! For example:


  • Bring cloth sacks to the store with you instead of taking home new paper or plastic bags. You can use these sacks again and again. You'll be saving some trees!

  • Metal and glass containers and reusable lunch bags are great ways to take your food with you to work or school without creating waste.

  • Coffee cans, shoe boxes, margarine containers, and other types of containers people throw away can be used to store things or can become fun arts and crafts projects. Use your imagination!

  • Don't throw out clothes, toys, furniture, and other things that you don't want anymore. Somebody else can probably use them. You can bring them to a collection center that accepts donations, give them to friends, or even have a yard sale.

  • Use all writing paper on both sides.

  • Use paper grocery bags to make book covers rather than buying new ones.

  • Use silverware, cups and dishes instead of disposable plastic utensils, cups and plates.

  • Store food in reusable, environmentally friendly containers.


Refuse

Everyone has the power in their everyday life to save the planet.  To go without something we don't need... we can save not only the environment, but the precious resources that we so desperately need to conserve.  We are speaking to single use products such as plastic/paper bags, plastic utensils, plastic drinking straws, plastic and styrofoam takeout containers just to name a few.  By refusing to use these items and by bringing your own when you're out and about, you will do the environment good.  Another way you can help is by refusing to support any company, organization or business that is clearly being environmentally harmful.  Refuse to be wasteful in your everyday life.

Recycle

Many of the things we use every day, like paper bags, soda cans, and milk cartons, are made out of materials that can be recycled. Recycled items are put through a process that makes it possible to create new products out of the materials from the old ones. In addition to recycling the things you buy, you can help the environment by buying products that contain recycled materials. Many brands of paper towels, garbage bags, greeting cards, and toilet paper, to name a few examples, will tell you on their labels if they are made from recycled materials.

In some towns you can leave your recyclables in bins outside your home, and a truck will come and collect them regularly. Other towns have recycling centers where you can drop off the materials you've collected. Things like paper and plastic grocery bags, and plastic and aluminum cans and bottles can often be brought to the grocery store for recycling. Whatever your system is, it's important to remember to rinse out and sort your recyclables!

 

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