What do I do to recycle, reduce, and reuse?

  1. One of the easiest things I do is to simply recycle.  I put all my paper, cardboard, plastic, and glass into my recycle bins and put them out on the curb for pickup.  Why some people don’t make this smallest and simplest of gestures to help our planet, I will never know.
  2. Second, I have a compost.  This isn’t quite as simple as the first, and in fact it is quite stinky and troublesome, but it keeps all sort of vegetable product from filling up our landfills for no good reason.  Another great thing about a compost is that is makes vitamin rich soil that is fantastic for gardening.
  3. When I’m not putting my vegetable scraps into my compost, I’m putting them in my freezer.  Once I fill one of those gallon size zip-lock bags with all those tops of bottoms of vegetables that people just throw out, I make a veggie broth for soups.  Not only does this reduce landfill waste, but it’s a much cheaper option for soup broth, and it’s really quick simple and easy to keep up with.
  4. Another really simple way to reduce waste is to bring cloth bags with you to the store when you go grocery shopping.  Of course I have a bad habit of forgetting to bring my bags with me, but if that happens just hold onto the plastic bags they give you and bring them back to the store to recycle them in the specially marked bins at your local store.  Please don’t just toss your plastic bags, because this is what they turn into (I giant island of trash in the ocean).
  5. Not that this is directly tied to recycle, reducing, or reusing, but I also like to go shopping at local markets.  Not only is the produce here fresh and local, but these locations are often much more conscientious of our environment.  Plus when you shop locally, your money goes right back into helping the local economy.
  6. I have also started some up-cycle art projects within the past year.  I’ve been making and selling gum wrapper bracelets and can tab bracelets.   I’m always excited to see the beautiful things people make out of other peoples trash.
  7. Another thing that’s happened to me in the last year that has helped me to reduce my gas use is a new car.  I was given the opportunity to trade cars, so now instead of my old Honda Civic (which was a very good and fuel efficient car to begin with), I now have a Toyota Prius.  Now my car has a smaller gas tank and I find myself having to stop at the gas station much less often to fill up my tank.
  8. When I’m in class I use much less paper than I used to.  Instead of taking notes with paper and pen, I take notes on my laptop.  No longer do I print out power point presentations to study them, I just sit at my computer to study.  I used to think that I needed to take notes by hand and highlight the power point lines as I read, but I’ve found that my grades are still just as good without having to waste all that paper.  Yes, that paper could be recycled at the end of the class when I no longer needed it.  However, isn’t it better not to use all that paper in the first place?  Lets not forget the while recycling is a good thing, it takes power and energy too.
  9. When I needed shelving for all my school books, instead of running out to the store and buying bookshelves I tried to think of a way I could make them.  I found some left over wood flooring and used this to create the shelves I needed.  Not only is this a great way of reusing this old wood flooring that was just getting tossed on the side of the road, but it saved me a ton of money.
  10. Another fantastic way for college students to save money is to check the apartment dumpsters at the end of the semester.  I know this may not sound appealing.  But I have seen new looking leather sofa sets just sitting in the parking lot waiting to be picked up by a truck and taken to the dump.  I will often pickup all this tossed furniture and take it to a donation spot, so at least someone can put these things to good use.  It seems so incredibly wasteful to me when I see all the things we students just throw away when we move from apartment to apartment.  Just take that extra hour to drop everything off at goodwill, habitat for humanity, or the local humane society.  These locations are always grateful to have your left overs.

What do you do to help our planet?