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I really do believe you can teach an old dog new tricks.You don’t need a green thumb to make the world a greener place.
Of course, if my mom were still alive she wouldn’t appreciate the title “old dog,” reference, but she helps to prove my point. In 1989, the state of CA passed the Integrated Waste Act, which essentially mandated a solid waste recycling program. Newspapers, cardboard, plastic, tin cans, aluminum and essentially all types of solid packaging materials had to now be sorted into recycle containers by the number indicated on the bottom. If you were found non-compliant (i.e. you didn’t sort your trash for garbage handlers), you were assessed a fine. And it wasn’t cheap.
After much complaining, my mom got on board. Within the next few months, the difference just one person could make was astounding. In fact, her actual “trash” looked shockingly different.
Her weekly garbage day pick up now included just one, small plastic grocery sack to place in the landfill.
No longer did she unthinkingly slide her overflowing cans to the end of the driveway for waste collectors to manage. Her trips to the curb increased because she now had three separate cans for all her recycle and trash items, but the effect of just a little effort was extraordinary.
Colorado may not have a directive forcing recycling, but isn’t a good idea to begin something so simple with immediate and positive results? Here are just a few “green” ideas you can incorporate in your daily routine right now.
10 Ways You Can Earn Your Captain Planet Sticker
1. Turn lights off when you leave a room.
2. Unplug unused electronics – daily, and especially when you leave for extended trips.
3. Try to complete household and personal errands in one afternoon – map them out so you don’t have to backtrack.
4. Replace all your conventional light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs.
5. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth.
6. Time your showers; the goal…5 minutes if possible. Or try a navy shower. These links will show you how. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=navy%20shower
7. Reduce the amount of laundry you do every week by waiting until a load is fill.
8. Reuse plastic bags – keep them in your car to easily grab ‘n go – better yet, use your own “green” bags. Many businesses give these away for free.
9. Recycle old clothes, electronics (Best Buy http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Global-Promotions/Recycle-FAQs/pcmcat174700050009.c?id=pcmcat174700050009 and Staples https://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/easy-on-the-planet/recycling-and-eco-services.html are good sources), even lawn clippings – they’re a natural composting material. Plus it saves you time from bagging it.
10. Don’t top off your gas on hot days – if you spill even a drop it adds to air pollution. Also, fill your gas tank in the morning.
If you’re at all on the fence about the return on your investment when it comes to recycling, take a look at just these two little factoids:
- Recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by more than 3,500 US homes in a year.
- For every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold, and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered.