I don’t know about you, but I love the world we live in. Well, I guess we don’t really live IN it, we live ON it. But I love it just the same. And we only have one world, right? I mean one day we might have other planets or space places we can inhabit, but that will be long after you and I are gone. So, for now, I feel it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the one we have. And there is no better time than now my friends. The three best ways to protect our planet are to reduce, reuse and recycle. But, reduce, reuse and recycle are not created equal. What?! I know, you would think they are all just as good as the other, but they are not. Reducing waste is the best option and I’ll tell you why.
You’ve probably had those three words drilled into your head for a lifetime, but those three words really do mean something and can make a difference. I have 5 kids and more often than not I feel like I’m failing at this parenting gig. I’m constantly second guessing myself, how I handled a situation, an argument between two of the kids, a homework frustration situation, a meal time melt down… you name it, I’m sure I’ve dealt with it and I’m sure I’ve wondered if I handled it the right way. Parenting is stressful. But I do my best. I really really do. And I know you do too (we see it mama, we do).
One of the things I feel I’m getting really good at is teaching my kids about taking care of our environment. It’s part of parenting that I feel good about and I can say that I’m winning at (sometimes lol because somehow kids can make you feel you are anything but winning no matter what).
If you ask any of my kids, they will tell you, I don’t like creating waste. I don’t like throwing things away. No, I am not a hoarder haha! In fact, I’m constantly trying to get rid of things in my house. We have way too much stuff. But, instead of throwing things away I like to donate them or give to a friend and if all else fails try to recycle it or reuse it in my own home. I hate filling up or trash bin.
I wish someone taught me along time ago that we don’t need so much stuff. Stuff is stressful. Stuff can be dirty. Stuff can be hard to get rid of. Stuff, is just stuff and oftentimes useless. I wish I learned that a long time ago and I don’t think I would live in a place with so much stuff. I should have “reduced” a long time ago.
But we can’t go back in the past and change things. Though that would be pretty awesome to do. I think. Maybe that would be kinda scary though… hmmm. Ok, anyway. My point is, we can only move forward and make better choices. Know better, do better, right?!
So, what can we do to protect our planet and ensure we are doing our best to give our kids a better lifestyle not only now but for their future? I’ll say it again, reduce, reuse, recycle.
One of the easiest changes we can make to reduce waste is to stop creating it. Seems simple enough. But what exactly does that mean? It means stop being wasteful lol. But really, it means stop buying things that get used once then thrown in the trash. Stop buying so much stuff! There are so many alternatives that we can use for daily items in our homes and lives. Reducing waste is by far the best option of the three.
When we reduce our waste, we guarantee there is less trash in the landfill, less trash on the ground and less trash in our oceans. Since there was less used, there is less to get rid of. It also means less is being produced which conserves our resources, natural and man-made. This helps to save energy, prevents pollution, reduces greenhouse emissions, and saves you money because you won’t be buying items you really don’t need. Do you see why reducing waste is the best choice?
A clear example of reducing waste is not using plastic bags from the grocery store. You won’t have to trash it, recycle it, or store it for reuse later. If you are only grabbing a few items from the store, carry them out of the store. Or if you are like me and a grocery shopping trip results in a trunk full of food (hello family of 7) then take reusable bags with you. Which brings me to the next point.
Reusing is the second best option out of the three. When you reuse you not only save yourself money by not having to purchase another item, but you are also making sure the item is being used to its fullest extent. An example of this would be reusing a glass spaghetti sauce jar for storing beads instead of buying a plastic bead storage container. Simple things like that. And of course, there is the example I gave earlier of using reusable cloth bags instead of plastic grocery bags.
You can find some pretty cute reusable bags on Amazon at really reasonable prices. I really like these reusable bags. Right now the price is 18.99 for ten of them so that’s only $1.89 per bag. Many states have already implemented fees to purchase plastic bags at check out. Those fees add up, so it would be cheaper in the long run to purchase these anyway.
Another great example is donating items. Donate your used clothing to a resale place such as The Salvation Army (this will benefit you when it’s time to file taxes too), or a friend in need. Join your local But Nothing site on FaceBook. When you need something, put a request on the site to see if anyone has the item they are no longer using that you can have before going out to buy one brand new. Saves you money and saves our planets resources. Winning! I told you, this is something you can feel good about and teach your kids about as well!
Now I know we can’t always reduce and reuse. So, what are your other options? Well you can throw it in the trash to fill our landfills. But please don’t. That only takes up valuable space on our planet and emits dangerous gasses. For the things you can’t reduce and recuse, you might be able recycle it. Recycling is my least favorite of the RRR trio because recycling uses resources too. Recycling uses energy and produces pollution. While I would pick recycling over trashing an item, I would much prefer not even to have to recycle it because the item never existed in the first place (I’ll say it again reducing waste is the best option) or because I found another use for it on my own that didn’t require a recycling plant to alter it.
Some items that are accepted at recycling centers are aluminum cans, plastic bottles, glass, and cardboard. If you are lucky, you live in a state where they actually pay you to recycle these items as well. Where we live, we are given a trash can, a recycling can, and a yard waste can to place out by the street on “trash day”. We place all clean paper products and recyclables that can’t go to the recycling center for money in the recycle can. The yard waste is a good one too because they can re-purpose the yard debris instead of throwing it in the landfill as well.
Do you see how you can mark yourself down for a winning point here in the game of life? You can actually give yourself a few winning points if you are sharing this knowledge with others, including your children so they know better and do better. To sum it up, reducing waste is by far the best, but there are plenty of options out there when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling. All three are parenting wins in my book when compared to the alternative of trashing our “stuff”. Teach your kids now so they can start putting the R trio into practice and so they can educate even their friends!