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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ‐ The Going Green Mantra

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If there is an easy way to sum up the growing green movement sweeping the world, it’s this: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Follow the three Rs, experts say, and you’ll soon be on your way to conserving resources and helping protect the planet.

Reduce

Reducing consumption is the first component of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra. Reducing what your family uses is easy – and a great first step to becoming environmentally aware. Reducing not only puts less stress on the environment, it can save you money in the short and long term.

Look around your home for areas where you and your family can use less. For instance, taking shorter showers can reduce the amount of water you use, the amount of water the municipal plant has to purify and the energy required to heat the water coming out of the shower head. There’s more. Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Turn the thermostat in your home down in the winter and up in the summer. Use energy efficient light bulbs wherever possible. In no time you’ll cut your consumption and notice a welcome reduction in your power bills as well.

Reuse

Reusing items as much as possible will also help protect the environment. A little creativity is all that’s needed. In the kitchen, the plastic tub your butter came in can be used again and again for leftovers. Aluminum foil can also be rinsed and reused. Clothing and shoes can be passed from older kids to younger kids. Old clothing, provided it’s in decent shape, can also be sent to a thrift store or charity for others to happily reuse.

On a larger scale, building products can also be reused. In almost any town it’s easy to find stores that resell old wood flooring, doors, windows and many other building supplies that are salvaged from homes being demolished. Reusing wood items, such as flooring, reduces the number of trees that have to be harvested to support the construction industry.

Recycle

The finally R is recycling. Many towns and states have aggressive recycling programs that make it easy. You simply load your old glass, plastic and paper into bins and haul them to the curb, where trucks come and pick them up.

But you can also recycle in places that don’t have curbside programs. Set up your own bins to segregate plastic, glass and paper. In many towns without curbside programs, homeowners can bring recycled goods to a collection area and drop them off. Also, private companies can handle the pickup. It might cost a few bucks, but many homeowners think it’s a worthwhile expense.

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