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  • Christy@Gnarly Oak Acres

Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle

Everyone knows these three words from grade school and the symbol we see on our recyclable materials is burned in our brains. That little symbol is a wonderful thing, however, I believe that symbol is mostly tied to the third and final step of this environmental concept. So why don't the first two get more love? Well, I think they deserve a quick spotlight.

REDUCE is first for a reason and deserves the attention of the number one slot. It is so important to first start to reduce our consumption of packaging, bags and containers. And that is a tall order in the society we live in. But small adjustments like toting around your reusable totes for groceries and cotton muslin sacks for your produce, can go a long way! I personally like to make eye contact with another shopper and pull a muslin sack from my sleeve like a magician. Ha! I would never...

Two on the RRR rundown is REUSE. I love this one because it challenges me to be creative! Many a storage container in my home has been adapted from a box, bag, or container that would have otherwise ended up in the recycling or worse... the landfill. And who needs fancy planting cells for the farm when you eat Chobani everyday? I don't think Chobani knows they are giving me growing materials for free...don't tell them. The hubs has also collected plastic containers (we may be close to hundreds at this point) from students at school that would be thrown in the garbage if he didn't intercept. Wash, drill a few holes in the bottom, fill with dirt and our seeds actually yell "Thank You!" as they are buried alive. And the best part... we reuse them year after year.

And last, but I think in this case, least, RECYCLE. I love recycling, don't get me wrong, but we try to make sure it is the last stop on the knight bus (you're welcome Harry Potter fans). Let's focus on reducing and reusing first, that way, so much less needs to be recycled and the use of precious resources will start to slow.

I am proud to live in a nation that has people who are trying to make a change, but truth be told, we need more of us. I'm not asking you to sell your house and craft a new one out of plastic bottles (although that would be wicked cool), or create clothing made with recycled toilet paper fiber, but I am asking you to make a little change today. Reduce the amount of bags you use starting this week. And next week, reuse something in your house, or pay attention to the types of packaging you're consuming and make better choices. And the week after that, tell somebody what you did and invite them to do the same. If we all continue to build on our changes each day, we can make our planet better. I know we can.

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