Part 3
Recycling gets such a bad rap.  Everyone KNOWS that they ought to do this but it is such a pain to do it, right?  And really, does it make any difference in the end?
I believe it does.  The construction industry is well known as one of the most wasteful industries on the globe accounting for over 24% of waste per year from demolition and construction of projects alone.  Discovering this early on in my career turned me into an environmental and recycling advocate immediately.
Recycling is very important because it reduces the pollution caused by waste and it reduces the need for raw materials and lowers our overall carbon footprint. WASTE has a negative impact for a variety of reasons. You should be mindful of RECYCLING for these following points:
Reduce pollution.
Pollution comes in many forms – the air we breathe to the water we drink to the soil we farm. In fact, pollution lowers our chances for survival on this planet in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Reduce landfills.
Landfills are where our rubbish is buried in the earth.  We often do not think about where our garbage goes, however out of sight can no longer remain out of mind. Landfills are now poisoning the earth as the waste disintegrates and leaches toxins into the soil and the greenhouse gasses are causing global warming and climate change.
Conservation of materials.
We need to conserve our natural resources so there will be enough for the next generation. We have lost our connection with the earth and the natural cycles of it, so we have over-harvested many materials resulting in the extinction of certain materials and species. This simply means we are literally killing our earth.
Save Energy and Money.
Making something new takes both energy and money.  Recycling, and repurposing allows the items already in existence to be used again and last longer. A real win-win.  Even if we are just recycling our waste such as paper and plastics to be recycled into new products, it saves energy and money since no new resources will be required, and all the effort goes to re-using what we already have. Despite still not being a perfect solution as recycling takes energy and money, it is at least a more conscious manner to do so
The term RECYCLING can mean many things.  Donations and selling your old stuff are forms of recycling and can benefit everyone. Often our needs change over time, so the things you no longer are using can be given to, donated or sold to allow them to have a second lease on life providing value to someone who currently needs them. For example you no longer make homemade ice cream with your kids as they are grown up, however someone else could use this and start their own family tradition. Think about this FIRST before you simple throw stuff away and add to our overflowing landfills.
The SECOND aspect of RECYCLING perhaps needs a little more help to understand how to do it.  This side takes some active participation because every town, city, state and even country will have different rules, regulations and processes in place.  However, as a conscious citizen of the world, you can simply google and discover what these are for you in your local area.
A good starting point is to focus your attention on being more conscious and to set yourself the goal to begin to recycle more.  One step in the right direction does make a difference in the long run.
Most places recycle the obvious ones: PAPER, GLASS, TIN and PLASTICS.  Depending on where you are, these may need to be separated and/or cleaned. It is the very minimum I feel we all ought to do no matter where we are.  It is not an option for me to toss into the garbage any of these things as I have created the habit to always recycle, wherever I am as much as possible. It is now an automatic habit of mine, like brushing my teeth before bed.


Moving to Spain made me even more aware of the AMOUNT of waste I produce myself and how urgently we all need to recycle on a daily basis.   This is because here we have to remove all of our own recycled items from our homes and bring them to the various recycling bins distributed throughout the city.  It was this simple act of having to physically be responsible for my own recycling and waste that has made me more conscious of the amount  that I create.
It also highlighted the large amount of plastics I still manage to have pass through my hands despite my efforts to minimize it. I know now that I have to work even harder to stop using plastics to reduce this.
Though recycling is a necessary and a very good thing to do, it is even better to have LESS STUFF to recycle in the first place. THREE TIPS on how to do this include the following:
  • Purchase things with less packaging,
  • Reuse your own metal or glass water bottle,
  • Carry a reusable bag whenever shopping.
All of our ELECTRONICS are also becoming an important item to include in your recycling practices.  We all use electronics in our daily lives such as phones, printers, appliances, etc.  and I imagine this is only going to increase given our technology focused world.  So, I feel it is necessary to know HOW to consciously RECYCLE our electronic stuff. Most towns have a monthly event where you can bring your old electronics to be recycled versus just throwing them into the garbage where they will end in a landfill. Some smart new businesses are offering to come to companies to pick them up, though often the homeowner will need to do this themselves. I suggest saving them all and recycling them as part of your Spring cleaning ritual.


Another idea is for you to become more aware of how much you throw away and think of ways in which you can either minimize it or reuse the items. For example, can you read your newspaper online instead of buying it daily? Or if you do get newspapers still, shred the paper and use it for the packaging of your Christmas presents instead of buying more materials.
My Mom used to always be a good recycler, even before this was something that was ‘required’.  She simply had it instilled in her from an early age that it made NO sense to waste things. She used to always say, ‘waste not, want not’ as one of her daily mantras. To this day this saying evokes a sense of being smart and caring for what I have in a sensible and mindful manner.

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT. ~ Maralee Forsythe (Lee’s Mom’s favorite mantra)

I feel that once we place our attention on these things we can become very creative in our solutions. It will all come down to our INTENTION.  It is our world, our earth, our life. How you do anything is how you do everything.