Recycling 101

Reuse, Reduce and Recycle

By Steve Davies,
Healthy Planet Columnist

Now when looking back to where I started this column, I realized that I didn’t exactly start off in the right place. Recycling is actually one of three words commonly used in the environmental world, the other two being reuse and reduce. So today, I thought I would discuss those other two, in large part because you can’t have one without the other two.

Something I’ve often found myself doing this time of year is wondering what to do with all of those gifts that I’ve recently received from family and friends. Now many of them I hope to enjoy for years to come but, some are simply adding to the ones I already have. The best example I can think of is a set of coffee mugs I received from my sister. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my sister but, with three kids myself, I’ve gotten more than my share of coffee mugs over the years.

Add to that the fact that I rarely even drink coffee along with having just replaced the shelves in some of my kitchen cabinets recently, I realize that I have too many coffee mugs as it is. What I decided to do instead is give that set to my middle child for him and his girlfriend to enjoy in their new apartment. I guess you could say I reused them as a gift for his birthday as it happens to fall right around the new year, I guess you could also say happy birthday.

Now the reason I’ve also decided to include the word reduce here is the fact even though spring and spring cleaning are still a little way away, I think with a dusting of snow and a chill in the air if you look outside, I think it’s still a good time to take a look around and see what you have that you might to either reuse or reduce.

When I ended up replacing those shelves, I decided to take the other coffee mugs we never used and donated them to charity. I also found myself going through my Christmas decorations, deciding which ones I want to continue using and what I no longer need.

One last note to add here is that I also found myself taking some of the toys my kids no longer play with and giving them to families who will enjoy them. I discovered the Facebook group Buy Nothing St. Louis County. Thanks to that group of people, many of my kid’s games, toy animals and cars have found new homes throughout St. Louis County.

If you have questions feel free to email me at thprecycler@yahoo.com