The Three Rs

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle logoI recently stumbled upon a web page about the Three Rs of the Environment: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. After reading the article, I did an inventory to determine how I measure up environmentally. The reduce, reuse, recycle concept is significant in my life. I began recycling when I was in college in the 70s.Going through the list of suggestions, I was pleased to note that I do most of them. I even added a  two or three.

Downloading books and magazines to my kindle saves money as well as trees. I read newspapers online. I eliminated bank and other statements by opting out of paper statements in favor of electronic statements. I rarely write checks. I make payments electronically through my bank or through PayPal. I use white vinegar to clean rather than buying commercial cleaning products.

Instead of running water in the shower until it is hot, I use a bucket to collect water that would otherwise run down the drain. I use the water to fill the toilet tank after a flush, to fill the fountain on my front porch, or to water plants on my patio. I save printer paper and run it through my printer a second time so that both sides get used before I put it into the recycling bin. I don’t by water in plastic bottles. I have three stainless steel bottles that I refill. I have a bin in the trunk of my car where I keep fabric shopping bags to avoid using plastic bags.

I’ve been going through closets and drawers and boxes in my garage attempting to re-purpose things I no longer use. I generally take them to Good Will or to the Salvation Army. In this way, I pass them on for someone else to use. I often shop at thrift stores where I find excellent items of clothing that are, in many cases, like new. I am grateful to whoever passed them on for my use.

I recycle everything I can. When I go through the mail, I separate what can be recycled and what needs to be shredded. Rather than buying a shredder I keep a bin in the garage where I put materials to be shredded. Once or twice a year I take the bin to the local retarded citizens facility where they run a document destruction program. At the center, I watch the workers dump the bin contents into a machine that pulverizes it in seconds. This process is considerate of the environment and supports the work of an important community service program.

It felt good to recognize my environmental awareness. I’ve done these things for so long they feel natural. The Three Rs are not just about Readin’, ‘Ritin’, and ‘Rithmetic.

3 thoughts on “The Three Rs

  1. Joan Raymond

    I’ve tried to do my part when I could. After I took an Environmental Issues class last year, it became apparent there was so much more I could fit into my routine. I use reusable grocery bags. I’ve started a compost bin in the backyard to help reduce trash. I donate clothes and try to shop in thrift stores from time to time. I do separate the junk mail with shred-able material, although I did not know about the shredding program. I get electronic statements and pay bills online, but I still love a real book to hold while I’m reading. I like the idea of using the warming shower water for thirsty plants, I’ll have to try that for my garden.

    Thanks for the tips and reminder that we can all make a difference.


  2. Anna Stewart

    Okay, well, um, I put stuff in the blue barrel! And I sometimes remember my re-usable grocery bags…at least once every ten trips to the store! Okay, that’s a lie…one in twenty? Seriously, man, I can’t begin to compete here. But shame is a good motivator…! 🙂 And, no, I’m not sure the smiley emoticon is appropriate but I don’t know which emoticon evinces sober humility and a sense of steely determination…so smiley face you get!

  3. Annis Cassells

    A great reminder about the things we can do to help preserve the environment, Dennis. We most often use the fabric reusable grocery bags. I also use an insulated bag, putting my refrigerated and frozen items in it while shopping.

    Usable goods for which I have no need for any longer go to Goodwill or the Discovery Shop. If they are things that teachers can use, I give them to a young teacher friend. If they resemble art supplies in any way, I donate them to Art for Healing. One of our friends has a policy of going through her closets and cupboards and drawers once a month, filling a bag and donating it. She moves a lot of stuff that way.

    We seem to recycle everyday goods more easily in Coos Bay; we do what we can in The Bake, but could do more. It’s never too late to start.

    Thanks, xoA


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