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Teaching Him To Reduce Reuse And Recycle

Updated on May 6, 2017

Keeping the Planet Clean - It's Not Difficult - Simply Participate


Reduce - Reuse - Recycle.

This is the point in my little life where it takes a wee bit of a strange twist when into my existence comes the love of my life. He is my rock, my all encompassing source of strength, my man.

He is a compliment to myself, and to my life in all ways except for one, he knows nothing of recycling. Eeek.

He actually has the crazy notion that "Going Green" is some strange new government conspiracy to get a little additional money out of the average working Joe. So as soon as my belongings hit his doorstep the retraining process began.

Composting vegetable waste.
Composting vegetable waste.

The three rules of recycling have never been so important as they are today.

The three r's of recycling have been a focal point in my life since virtually the time that I first started walking. Raised on a farm I learned early to limit the amount of garbage that I produced. Garbage wasn't picked up at our curb. We had to haul it to a garbage dump some ten miles away so we were taught early in life to limit the amount of garbage that needed to be taken away.

Any paper or wood waste was burned in our wood stove, vegetable and other food waste was fed to the hogs, coffee grains were placed in the garden compost. We had our own cows so we didn't have to worry about recycling milk containers, but most of the other containers that our food came in were cleaned, and then reused to store other things in.

We not only recycled our own pop and beer bottles but we hunted them out along the roadsides. With a family consisting of six kids money was scarce and these bottle finds provided us a means of money.

They were our movies, our treats, and our vacation money. They were the difference between just existing and really living. We were taught early the value of recycling and it is something that each of us siblings have carried with us into adulthood.

In today's world recycling is important for so many more reasons than it was in my childhood days. It is now a matter of life and breath.

We are living in an era where each and every individual has to become more environmentally aware and learn to work together at reducing the green house gas emissions that we create. It is a new world that we live in today and we need to adapt to a new way of living.

I Have to Retrain His Thinking and Turn Him Green

Recycling can be a confusing concept for those born in the disposable era.
Recycling can be a confusing concept for those born in the disposable era.

Nag Nag Nag

His eyebrows go up and he gives me a little look that says all too clearly, Okay. Now what did I do wrong? He knows he's in trouble but he's not quite sure why.

The man is beyond training. If he were a puppy he would be relegated to spending the remainder of his life out of doors.

I reach into the trash can and retrieve from it the four liter plastic milk jug that has somehow magically found its way there. I see the light flash on in his eyes. He has received my message and he now understands all too clearly the current predicament that he is in.

"If every family in this town recycled one bag of these things a year that would be 36,000 less bags of plastic in the landfill each year. If every family recycled every single jug they used think of how much less garbage could go into the landfill each year?" Nag. Nag.

I feel like the wicked witch of the north. He sighs.

Going green hasn't been easy for him. He was born in the "disposable era", a time when almost everything was eventually tossed into the landfill. The concept of actually sorting through and recycling garbage just isn't an idea that makes any sense to him.

Unlike my grandchildren who happily recycle pop bottles for their spending money, compost the household vegetable waste, and actually argue over who gets to put the milk jugs, tin cans, cardboard, and paper products into the recycling bins at the side of our house, he just can't seem to figure it out.

Pop it in and turn your compost over every now and then. Sunshine, water, and mother nature will take care of the rest.

Just dig a small hole and pop your compost in.
Just dig a small hole and pop your compost in.
Composting vegetable waste can keep your garden soil nutrient rich.
Composting vegetable waste can keep your garden soil nutrient rich.

There Is Hope For Him

Mind you, he has been good in other areas. After reading an article on conserving energy, the thought of lower electricity bills had him so excited that he switched to fluorescent lighting almost as soon as the first bulbs hit the store shelves. Our hot water tank had its heat reduced, the electric blanket was discarded, our electric clock was replaced with a windup, and the thermostat in the house had its temperature levels reduced dramatically at night.

The rising cost of gas has him carpooling to work and he and I now drive a lot less than we used to. I'm not even sure if he realizes how much he is doing for the environment by just initiating those simple changes to his lifestyle.

He can see exactly which neighbors recyle and which ones don't by the number of bags that they set out on garbage day. When I moved in he was contributing a full bag to the landfill each week but now with two of us living here we are setting out only half that amount. He now proudly carts his half bag of garbage out to the curb for pickup each week. The neighbor kitty corner to us sets out three bags each garbage day, and like us, they are a family of two adults.

I don't have to nag him anymore to compost. He even hauls our little compost bucket out to the garden area as often as I do. A few more years and he might be just as environmentally consious as I am. If I can get him over the government conspiracy notion that is.

Recycling bottles and cans can put quite a bit of spare change back into your pocket.
Recycling bottles and cans can put quite a bit of spare change back into your pocket.

Reduce Reuse And Recycle. Be Kind To Our Planet.

Going green isn't all that difficult a task to accomplish. It is just a new pattern of living to incorporate into your current lifestyle.

Reducing your carbon footprint through the reduce, reuse, and recycle plan is actually pretty simple to adapt to.

Try your hand at going green. You may find that you actually like it.


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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 22 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      I pratice the 3 r daily

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 22 months ago from Arkansas USA

      Sounds like you've made some progress! My "him" is actually pretty good about recycling. Composting, however, is our weak point, one both of us need to work on. Now I'm feeling inspired!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was scanning your articles looking for one that spoke to me, and this is the one. We are big on recycling and reusing here on our little urban farm. We rarely buy new, always buy according to needs rather than wants. I just wish I could convince more people to follow our lead. :)

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      I love this post and your style of writing. Hmmm, yep us 'green' folks are conspiracy theorist... Now that made me laugh. I am glad that you did not 'give up the boat' and are still recycling. I love your ideas.. Voted up for useful and awesome.

    • profile image

      raghu  7 years ago

      Only one step makes the difference,that difference you have made between you and we by very simple changes that need great determination and heart.

    • profile image

      gaurav 7 years ago


    • michelle willow profile image

      michelle willow 9 years ago from Croatia / Europe

      Glad to see you here! And with such a great hub on my favorite subject! Wow!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 9 years ago

      WONDERFUL Hub LadyMermaid!!

      Thank you for sharing your story!! You are right, small choices make big differences!! We are pretty good here in California, but not as good as Oregon!! And certainly not as good as we can be!!

      Keep writing!! Keep sharing!! Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!! You go girl!!

      Blessings always, Earth Angel!!