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Here are the Three R’s for the 21st Century: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s our new Life-Style mantra. This posting is about recycling. Reducing consumption and reusing materials will be discussed in a future post. Recycling is having a bigger impact on all of our lives these days. Like a lot of other people where we live, we recently received the big blue recycling container. For us, it was very welcomed. We went from 3 - 4 various sized recycling containers to one, which means a lot less clutter in our garage. More importantly, it enables us to recycle without separating the various materials. However, many of our neighbors felt the containers were too big. Even though they liked the idea of not separating the items, which many admitted they didn’t do and thus didn’t recycle all they could. Here’s a simple example of some of the items being missed for recycling. CARDBOARD: Literally everything in your pantry, cupboards and/or storage areas has cardboard in or around them, from the obvious boxes; cereal, cookies, crackers, cake mixes, rice, potatoes mixes, sandwich and storage bags, bar of soap, case of cans, to the less thought about; rolls for paper towels and toilet paper, wax paper and aluminum foil dispensers. You get the picture. Where do you put these boxes, the trash or recycler? PLASTIC: We are all pretty good about our drinking bottles and grocery bags. How about the other plastic containers you use: shampoos, conditioners, laundry soap, liquid soap, lotions, mouth wash, cosmetics, and so on. PAPER: Again, newspapers are the obvious. What about your magazines, or little things such as the flyers in your bills and those envelops? What about your junk mail? Granted, recycling will not lower the amount of junk mail you receive. However, you will get the satisfaction of knowing that all that ‘stuff’ is not going in a landfill. CANS: Today, there are fewer cans being produced and thus being trashed. That’s due in large part to new, lighter weight, composite containers that are used to store our foods. However, cans become as much of a problem in a landfill as plastics. Remember, every item that is recycled is one less item in your local landfill. Granted, no one wants to have a big, blue recycle bin in every room of the home. However, with some thought, you may be able to provide the family with a convenient way for them to increase their recycling opportunities. Because kitchens have the most activity, they often generate the greatest opportunity for recycling. One simply solution is to place an extra container in the kitchen to ‘catch’ the recyclable materials, instead of throwing them in the trash. For example, those empty cereal or cake boxes that didn’t make it to the outside recycler. The next major area for recycling opportunities is the space where your bills are paid or homework is done. This is often referred to as ‘office space’ of the home. In today’s world of identity theft, a shredder is a must. It is designed to destroy any personal and critical information you are trashing. Unfortunately, a shredder will not reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. However, it’s great for reducing the amount of space it needs in the recycle bin. The bedroom areas of the home can generate a lot of recycling opportunities as well. Identify a ‘central’ area and use a small, decorative container as the recycle bin. Simple empty it when you empty your other trash containers. Recycling is no longer a task done by those sandal-wearing, earth-loving’ few. It must become a way of life for every individual that is as natural as opening the door to go outside.