Reduce, reuse are the keys

Recycling is to conservation as smoking is to health.

In the United States 106,000 aluminum beverage cans are discarded every 30 seconds! If you don’t see the effects, it’s tempting not to care.

Some people think environmental problems are not our fault because we recycle. However, to produce plastic, there are tons of nasty chemicals and other resources involved. As a consumer, you can get plastic water bottles anywhere for less than a dollar. In fact, there were hundreds of free bottles of water given away during move-in day. The 30 seconds it took to chug that bottle of water is nothing compared to the thousands of years it will take for the bottle to decompose.

To recycle, it is first necessary to pick up the items. This requires fuel and manpower. Next the items must be sorted and, if necessary, cleaned. This requires more manpower and more resources. Then the items will be broken down and reused, and this could involve nasty chemicals as well.

I’m sure you already know that plastic bottles leach Bisphenol-A into your water. Bisphenol-A is a xenoestrogen, a known endocrine disruptor, meaning it disturbs the hormonal messaging in our bodies. Synthetic xenoestrogens are linked to breast cancer and uterine cancer in women, decreased testosterone levels in men and are particularly devastating to babies and young children.

You may have heard of the three R’s:reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycling is the least important of the three R’s. Reducing and reusing are the keys. Buy a nice glass cup or a durable high density polyethylene bottle to drink from. POM, who markets a pomegranate juice, sells its drinks in a glass cup with a lid on it so it can be reused. And it isn’t too hard to clean either. Reducing and reusing are of utmost importance when considering the future of our Earth. I’m from the Jersey Shore, and the last thing I want is an endless source of debris washing up onto the beach. Be annoying – if your friends waste a lot of plastic, say something. No one will hate you for wanting to save the Earth’s resources.

“I got this bottle through meal equivalency, it’s free, and I don’t care!” Well your kids may care when they can’t go to the beach anymore or when the only free space in your town that hasn’t been used for another strip mall is filled with the crap you wasted within seconds. And while we are on the subject, please turn off the desk lamps in the library when you see them and turn off the lights in your room as well. It takes two seconds and does a lot.

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