Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When you put into perspective how many things you throw away every day, then think about billions of people doing the same thing, it starts to add up.

If you have been to the Starbucks in the Memorial Student Center lately, you may have seen the new and inexpensive, reusable cups for sale. Starbucks is one of the many companies that is dedicated to reducing their waste, and these companies are starting an important conversation.

Think about it, every time you go to a coffee shop, a fast food restaurant or the grocery store, you are creating more waste in the environment. Every time you take a bag of trash out of your dorm, you are contributing to the trash piling up on our planet.

When you put into perspective how many things you throw away every day, then think about billions of people doing the same thing, it starts to add up.

Recycling is a big factor in reducing waste build up on our planet’s surface and in our atmosphere. And recycling doesn’t have to be a burden.

I know it is easy to just throw all of your trash away in one load, but there are plenty of options that will help you make it easier to recycle. The easiest way to remember to recycle is to put another trashcan in your room and designate it for only paper or plastic. You can designate it for both, but you will have to remember to separate it later.

My favorite way to remember to recycle is to use one of my laundry baskets. My roommate and I use one of my laundry baskets to put our empty plastic bottles in, that way when I go to do laundry, I have to remember to take out our recyclables.

It is a simple way to force myself into doing something good for the environment. And since I have been on a recycling kick lately, I started using it for paper, too.

If you want to take your recycling a step further, start using cloth shopping bags instead of plastic ones. And if you do use the plastic bags, keep them to use as trash bags.

Invest in a reusable water bottle and mug, so you can refill them, and buy some silverware, bowls, plates, and cups for your dorm or apartment, instead of using plastic or paper products. By washing dishes, you reduce waste, and you may even save money.

The whole point of recycling is to make something reusable. So why not take your recyclables and make cool crafts out of them, too? There are tons of ideas on Pinterest on what to do with empty bottles, egg cartons, magazines, etc.

Making something useful out of something that you could have just thrown away is kind of satisfying. One really neat idea I saw was a desk organizer made out of toilet paper rolls and a shoebox.

By simply gluing these items together and covering them in decorative paper, or maybe an old roll of giftwrapping paper, you can make yourself an extremely cheap and personalized desk organizer. You can get crafty, make something useful, and still reuse a part of the environment at the same time.

Recycling isn’t that hard and it doesn’t take that much time. Readjusting your routine to recycle can be a change, but it can be satisfying, it might even be fun, and you will also be helping to give back to our planet.

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected].