Green is not just the color of money, it is the color of social-responsibility

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Three R's

The Three R's and I don't mean  Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.

I am talking about The Three R's of the Environment.

Every year, Americans throw away 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jar and can covers. More than 30% of our waste is packaging materials.

Where does it all go? Some 85% of our garbage is sent to a dump, or landfill, where it can take from 100 to 400 years for things like cloth and aluminum to decompose. Glass has been found in perfect condition after 4,000 years in the earth!

We are quickly running out of space. It's time to learn the three R's of the environment: reduce, reuse, recycle. Then practice what you preach: don't buy things you don't need or items that come in wasteful packaging or that cannot be recycled. Reuse and recycle whatever you can.

Do you know what reduce, reuse, and recycle stands for or what even it is suppose to do for the environment? Some people think that it is just a simple thing that you do when you bring in the aluminum cans and plastic bottles to recycling centers but you have to do a little more than that if you want to truly understand what this phrase really means. The three R's can bring some money to your household and peace of mind because you are helping out the environment. There are some other things that you can do in order to reduce, reuse, and recycle that will benefit you and your surroundings.

When you think of the phrase reduce, reuse, and recycle, it brings many thoughts to your head because there are so many things that you can do to use these three little words to make an impact on the environment.

Fortunately, going green also goes hand-in-hand with saving money.  Here is some advice for doing your part for the environment - and your pocketbook year-round: 

The word reduce means to cut down or slowdown on the material or items that you use in everyday life that could be harmful to the environment. If you think of things that you can cut back on in everyday life you will be doing what the phrase says.


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.

 * Save money and reduce the eco-impact of your housework by creating and using your own furniture polish. Mix 1 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon each of orange and lemon essential oils in a measuring cup and pour the polish into a small squirt bottle. You can reuse an old shampoo or conditioner bottle with a flip top.

Now let us take the second word in the phrase reuse. In order to reuse as something you must have a container that you can use over and over again. This means you do not throw it away just because you used what was contained inside the container. If people can start reusing things on a regular basis, it will cut down on the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. This will be a good thing for all the parties involved and the earth because it would be cutting down on the amount of waste along the roadsides and in people's homes.


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!
  • Plastic containers and reusable lunch bags are great ways to take your lunch to 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 center that collects 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 and dishes instead of disposable plastic utensils and plates.
  • Store food in reusable plastic containers.

Now the last word in that phrase is recycle. Recycling materials can be the best thing because it can cut down on the amount of garbage that ends up in the world's landfills; it can also mean that it can cut down on the amount of money you spend in your home. If you are a person that does recycle then you know the benefits that come along with recycling.


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!

Get creative with your recycling. Find new ways to use items that you might otherwise throw out. For example, instead of disposing of the cardboard tube once the roll of paper towels is done, why not use it to store and protect your child's homework assignments or artwork? Simply roll up the papers, slip them inside the tube, and label the tube according to subject.

If you put all three of these words together you get the phrase reduce, reuse and recycle that can save you money as well as a real good feeling because you are doing something for the environment.

Recycling helps to protect the environment
to say it different:
Recycling helps to protect all of us!

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