REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
Earth Day didn’t seem to get much mention around me this year. Maybe because it was the day after Easter. I have been trying to improve my carbon footprint for many years. Oh, don’t think I am some sort of activist on this subject, this is just my personal view and a way for me to feel like I am giving back to my environment. I have been using Earth Day for many years as a way to reflect on things I can personally change, that might make an impact. This week, I have been reflecting on years past. When my children were younger, I was very involved in Girl Scouting, I think it helped to fuel my inner need to give back to Mother Earth. My girls will tell you, I kept them in scouts longer than they wanted to for me, and that is 100% true. I miss those days. Every year, on or around Earth Day, we would do something related to recycling, planting, picking up trash, you name it. One year, our troop displayed art projects in our local library; all of the art, proudly made, using recycled materials by the troop members. My youngest daughter displayed a paper mache dinosaur made only of newspaper and candy wrappers! As the troop got older, we participated in local clean up events annually. I remember fondly the day that I realized I was making an impact. It was the day my youngest displayed her first instance of road rage. Oh, she wasn’t even old enough to drive, but she was demanding that I speed up to catch the car in front of us, so she could make them turn around, and pick up the fast food bag they tossed out their window! Small things really can make a big difference, so when I heard about the movement of paper vs. plastic straws, it made me realize, as much as I try to do, I never once gave a plastic straw a single thought. I am however, very passionate about plastic six pack rings; if I come across one (even in someone else’s possession) I cut them apart! Over the years I have adopted a few small improvements that have become second nature. For example, I have adopted the ‘REUSE’ mentality for plastic grocery bags. I have a trunk full of those reusable bags that everyone seems to give away, but I always forget to bring them into the store. Where possible, I ask for paper instead. The paper is biodegradable and #ScruffyAKAVerne gets a fun treat after I unpack the groceries. I ‘hide’ a small treat in the bag and shake it up and oh boy, he thinks it is a great game. I save the plastic bags and use them for bathroom trash can liners, and they are perfect for the chore of picking up dog poop. Yup. I went there. I have used plastic picnic items, they just make life so much easier sometimes, but, now I only buy paper plates, bowls and cups and, yes, I pack my kitchen utensils in my lunchbox. They go in the dishwasher when I get home. Sponges go in the dishwasher too. I used to throw them away weekly; I can’t stand the mildew smell they seem to get. Now, I put them in the dishwasher at least once before I toss them. The dishwasher itself is not run unless it is full, I do not run the water when brushing my teeth, and I never water my lawn or flower beds. If Mother Nature can’t take care of it, it is not going to make it in my yard. I am in the process of converting all my left over containers back to glass and I always donate items I am no longer using, instead of throwing them away. As far as paper goes, I converted my lists over to apps on my IPhone and I no longer subscribe to newspaper or magazine subscriptions. Hello Pinterest! Everyone has their thing, no matter big or small, it can make a difference!