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Recycling; it isn't just about putting out the paper and plastics.

A friend from San Francisco was just telling me about how in SF, people put things they no longer want out on the sidewalks and others pick them up and take them home. That's recycling!

There are also benefits to purchasing previously owned items. It prevents new resources being consumed to make the item completely new from scratch. (Plastic and synthetic manufacture processes contribute adversely to environmental and health concerns. Sweatshops - including child labor - do still exist. Why kill another cow, calf or pig so we can have a new pair of shoes, slacks, handbag or jacket?)

Some ideas about disposal:
Before you put anything in the trash, consider whether it can be recycled into a new material or reused by someone else.

  • Food scraps - non-animal products make excellent composting materials. If you don't have a current compost method, you can purchase pre-built composters at garden centers. Never put animal products into compost beds or containers. They will attract rodents! Home made compost is excellent in your garden and you control what goes in. You can create different types of compost for different uses. Read about composting.
  • Paper, plastic or glass items - Many areas include recycling in the trash collections service. If you don't have that benefit, you can find one near you here.
  • Household items, clothing, shoes, toys - Pick a charity! Most non-profit or charity organizations operate thrift store to help raise money. If you have items you no longer want, you can donate them for the stores. Some organizations will even have pick-up service. We live in a society where many things are discarded that still can be useful to someone else. Remember, 'one man's trash is another man's treasure'.

When you need to acquire something new...
When you need a new car or bicycle, think about buying one that was previously owned. You will be recycling by reusing an item that had a previous life in someone else's ownership. When you get ready for your new seasonal wardrobe, check upscale thrift stores. And just as with household items you give away, you may find a perfect addition to your home by shopping at local antique or second hand stores.

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