Since I first learned about recycling in the early eighties I have tried to follow the notion of the three R’s.  Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.


I try to recycle as many of the paper, cardboard, glass plastic & metal things in daily life that we use in our home and office.  I reuse office paper, cutting used 8’ X 11” pages into note pads, I copy on both sides of the paper in the office, my wife saves as much wrapping paper as she can, and anything we can’t find a use for we send out in a blue bag for the city to recycle.  The problem with recycling is that darn near everything we buy has a throw-away component.  Cardboard, plastic, tin, glass, wood, whatever you purchase they all have something that covers, holds, explains or fulfills some other function that once in the home is of no value and has to go out to the curb on garbage day.


There are times when I feel like a hoarder, we keep cardboard boxes, plastic ice cream, whip cream and butter tubs, plastic bags, and the plastic clips from bread bags, bubble wrap and whatever else we can find a use for.  All of which is stored in every nook and cranny in the house, shed, and garage.  One day soon I hope to find a use for these things other than as a means to hold screws, nails, pencils, change, etc.  At least we manage to move the pop cans, milk jugs, juice boxes, and wine bottles every couple of months, when the bags begin to build up to the point where we can’t get around them anymore.  Of course the money we get back on our deposit goes right back into things we have to recycle.


My next car will be electric, not only because it’s better for the environment, but because I’m tired of getting out of my car in minus thirty Celsius weather to gas up while some guy sits inside a warm store and watches me.  We use bins not bags for shopping and carrying our groceries.  Our lawn mower is electric not gas, and now with the city of Edmonton pushing for us to stop bagging our grass clippings, I have to sharpen my lawn mower blades every time the grass is cut so the clippings can be left in the grass.  It also means that the lawn has to be left longer, and cut more often.  Even our weed whacker is electric.


I had to replace all our toilets from the old conventional ones to low flush water savers.  If you’ve ever seen me with tools in my hands you’ll understand what a chore that was.  Around the house we use everyday products to clean whenever possible, micro fiber clothes and water for windows and mirrors, water and vinegar on the floors and much more.  We had a heat audit done on our 1970’s home and we were losing over 40% of our heat.  We replaced doors, water heater, furnace, insulated the basement and the attic.  Most of which we did ourselves.  Remember that tools and I don’t get along?   Imagine how much fun that was to do.  But now we have a much more efficient home when it comes to heating and cooling.  Saves us money and helps the environment.


We all know how important it is to follow the three R’s.  We all need to help keep the environment in good shape; we all need to be responsible for what we use and how we use it.  I am the first person to get upset when people don’t follow the ideals of recycle, reuse and reduce, but I am also the first to let you know what a pain it can be to do it.


Thanks for listening.



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