Reducing, reusing, and recycling are key to protecting our resources and preserving our environment for future generations. Garbage means wasted water, wasted energy, pollution, transportation costs, and overflowing landfills. Reducing is the most powerful technique for eliminating waste because we don't generate waste in the first place. If reducing is out of the question, then at least reuse or recycle. You have three options. Which one are you going to choose today?


  1. Reduce what you use by purchasing larger sizes.
  2. Reuse rather than throw away.
  3. Contact your local waste management company and find out if they sort trash and recycle. If not, create different containers in your home and at work for glass, plastic, and paper.
  4. Deliver your separated recyclables to a local recycling center once a month.
  5. Buy recycled products and packaging.


  • The U.S. leads the industrialized world in waste generation, producing 254 million tons annually—4.6 pounds per person per day.
  • 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour.
  • 400 billion photocopies are made every year—roughly 750,000 per minute.
  • Producing recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollutants, 35% less water pollutants, and 75% less process energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.
  • Recycling an aluminum can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore, producing 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.
  • 33% of waste is recovered and recycled or composted, 13% is burned, and 54% is disposed of in landfills.
  • There are 8,660 curbside recycling programs in the U.S.
  • Only 2 manmade structures on Earth are large enough to be seen from outer space—the Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills landfill in New York.
Excerpted from: Every Monday Matters: 52 Ways to Make a Difference by Matthew Emerzian and Kelly Bozza. Copyright © 2008 Every Monday Matters LLC. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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