Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
World Environment Day was June 5. This is a good time to reflect on ways to help the environment. While many people see Recycling as the most important of the “Three Rs,” there is a reason it is listed third. Recycling should be the last options. If you pay attention to the first two, you will actually produce less waste and spend less money.
- Purchase only what food and other supplies you need. Purchasing less means you’ll have less to dispose of later.
- Avoid creating trash whenever possible. When ordering food, don’t take any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc. (bring your own and ask in advance not to get additional), don’t accept “free” promotional products, and buy products with the least amount of packaging.
- Pack a waste-free lunch with no throwaway bags, containers, plastic wrap, etc. Use reusable containers to store food instead, like this or this.
- Avoid single-use items like juice boxes, soda bottles, paper dinnerware or plastic utensils. In the cafeteria, you never need to order a small water bottle; they have drinking water and glasses available for free! For home, buy cleaning supplies and other non-perishable materials in bulk to cut down on packaging.
- Donate usable clothing, appliances, furniture and other items to NGOs in your area. Not only will you reduce the amount of waste you produce, you’ll also help others in your community.
- Switch from disposable to reusable items like plastic or metal food or beverage containers, refillable razors and pens, and washable kitchen towels and diapers.
- When remodeling or making improvements to your home, donate usable items like cabinets, lighting, appliances, lumber, flooring and windows to construction resale shops.
- Start a swap with your friends or coworkers to trade items like books, clothing, computer equipment and games. Something you’re no longer interested in could be a great find for a friend.
- Bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store, market, and other stores.
- When Reducing & Reusing doesn’t work, Recycle in your home and workplace. Plastics can be recycled using the GSO-provided bins put out with your regular trash. Aluminum and glass can be recycled at the embassy. The bins are near the rear entrance to the parking structure, behind the guard booth.
- Clear out the electronics that have been collecting dust in your closet; televisions, computers, computer accessories and more can be recycled with SetTIC or at the next E-Waste Recycling drive.
- Take your leftover food scraps and yard clippings and compost them to create a nutrient rich addition to sprinkle over your soil for gardening. Contact the Green Team via email if you’d like a brochure on how to get started with composting.
If you have additional ideas, or are already doing something that will help to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, send an email to the Embassy GREEN TEAM firstname.lastname@example.org