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Tackling the First R

2013 August 29

By Lina Younes

I’ve always encouraged my family to abide by the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Personally, I’ve always made an effort to recycle while I’m at home, at work or on the road. If I don’t find a recycling bin readily available, I’ll hold on to the soda can or bottle and then discard it in the recycling bin I have at home. I’ll do the same with the free newspaper I read on the metro.

Frankly, recycling seems to be the easiest of the 3R principles to live by. In my opinion, the most difficult one to implement is the first one: reducing waste from the outset. It’s ironic that the most difficult principle to live by, reducing waste, is the one that has the greatest impact on the environment.

What are some of the benefits of reducing waste? Well, they include preventing pollution, saving energy and using fewer natural resources in the big scheme of things. But, one of the benefits that we can all understand at the personal level is that reducing waste actually saves us money!

How can you save money at home and have fewer things to throw in the trash? Well, buy products with less packaging. I know that individually wrapped items might seem practical, but how much paper or plastic wrapping will end up in the trash in the long run? Seems like an unnecessary waste to me. Another idea: choose reusable silverware, plates and cups at home and in the office.

Before you go grocery shopping, do you check your refrigerator and pantry to see what you really need? Are you sure that the vegetables in your refrigerator need to be thrown away? Can you, instead, make them into a casserole or freeze them so they won’t need to be thrown in the trash? Remember: we should feed people, not landfills.

With some planning, we all can work to make a difference in our environment. Do you have any tips to share with us? Have you done anything special lately to reduce your carbon footprint? We love to hear from you.

About the author:  Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves the Multilingual Communications Liaison for EPA. She manages EPA’s social media efforts in Spanish. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

11 Responses leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    September 1, 2013

    Recycling can sometimes be confusing and it can be difficult to know whether you are following all the right rules. Improve your recycling efforts by learning some recycling etiquette rules and check out which type of collection is best and why different areas recycle and collect in different ways.

  2. mahan permalink
    September 2, 2013

    cool

  3. sumanth permalink
    September 2, 2013

    yes Lina Younes, it is very important to follow 3R’s if we follow effective recycle plans then we can save many of the green trees. I am the part of Tree Save Organization thanks for sharing nice one.

    Thanks & Regards

  4. shankar permalink
    September 2, 2013

    A real informative blog like this is an exceptionally cool helping resource for a needy information seeker like me! Thanks a lot.

  5. canlı maç izle permalink
    September 2, 2013

    thank you admin nice article

  6. bean bag maker permalink
    September 2, 2013

    nice post, I fully agree that recycling is the future.

  7. Lina-EPA permalink*
    September 3, 2013

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, we all can make a difference.

  8. dj rockerfeller permalink
    September 28, 2013

    A real informative blog like this is an exceptionally cool helping resource for a needy information seeker like me! Thanks a lot.

  9. abiodunfuoye permalink
    October 28, 2013

    Fantastic post… each person can make different.

  10. Riz permalink
    November 12, 2013

    Very motivating article ! This actually reminds us of the rule that if we really want to get something done – we should be the one to start it. Every small effort by us at our home and office would surely be a contribution towards the ‘recycle and reuse’ strategy. Thanks !

  11. guut permalink
    March 23, 2014

    Very motivating article ! This actually reminds us of the rule that if we really want to get something done – we should be the one to start it. Every small effort by us at our home and office would surely be a contribution towards the ‘recycle and reuse’ strategy. Thanks !

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