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Recycling gains

Over the past several weeks and months I have been stepping up my separation of recyclable materials and trash. I have easily reached the point where my recyclables take up more room than my trash. When I get around to composting I should have very little trash period.

It's disturbing how much I still recycle though. Better to avoid the packaging if possible but in many cases it isn't. At times I have opened packages at the checkout counter and told the checker to recyle the waste package. It might get recycled, it might not. Probably the most I can hope is that this move will increase awareness in someone else.

Some ways to reduce the stuff coming in the door:

* Buy used.

* Don't buy those packages of vegetables and fruit when possible; use your own produce bags (available from reusablebags.com) if you can or just accumulate different fruits and veggies loose in your basket (I do this all the time; the checkers usually don't throw them all in plastic bags and when they are so inclined I stop them).

* Reduce your dependence on prepackaged foods.

* When you are buying not from need but from desire: Ask yourself the "high" question: How long will this item give me a high? If it's a long time by all means buy it! If it's two days...leave it.

* Get rid of stuff you no longer love or need. I expect I sound like the true reformed clutterbug: ready to evangelize, bring everyone else into the fold. But honestly, I struggle with "things" and probably always will and I do not beat myself up about it. I have found, though, that the more you give away the easier it gets. Start with bookcrossing! Giving away rather than throwing away is the best option: others can then love your unlovables.

* Go to restaurants that use real dishes and flatware when possible.

* Use rechargable batteries. If you are lucky enough to have a Batteries Plus in your area (or maybe just a Radio Shack) you can get 1) rechargable batteries and charger, plus 2) bags for recycling used batteries. At Batteries Plus you can bring your old used batteries in and they will be recycled for you. No more illegal dumping in the trash!

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