New Year Resolution for a Better Planet

Recycle DudeSo another New Year has come and gone and yet again you are grasping for a good resolution. But maybe you are like my wife and your problem is not sticking with your resolution, it is finding an issue that you can work at all year. My wife does not smoke nor does she drink all that much, she spends tons of time with her family and she works out just about the appropriate amount. That covers some of the big ones – quit smoking, lose weight, cut down on drinking, spend more time with the family.

This year we wanted to do a joint resolution and do something that we had never done before. What we happened upon is a bit of a clichéd resolution and one of the top resolutions this year, but a resolution that I believe is fairly easy to maintain and more than just helping better ourselves, helps to better the planet.

Perhaps you can tell already, but what we chose as our resolution was to cut down on our garbage waste as much as possible and make a new commitment to recycling. We have always made a point of recycling our glass and plastic bottles as well as aluminum cans – but as we read up on recycling tips at the EPA web site, we realized there is so much more we can do to further our recycling efforts.

We currently live in a multi-family residential building so we do not have access to our very own recycling bin, but are provided with two small garbage-can-sized bins – this to serve a building with over 100 units. We realized that the bins were constantly overflowed, and as a result a lot of people were just throwing their recycling into the larger dumpsters. This seemed like the perfect way to get our resolution off with a “bang”! My wife and I worked with the building to get a third recycling bin installed in the garbage corral, giving us and our neighbors more room for recycling.

A second way we found a way to do more to recycle and reuse was to donate our unused clothes to the Goodwill, a shelter or mission for the homeless. For those that do not know, Los Angeles (and my neighborhood in particular) has a large homeless and transient population, many of them without the necessary clothing for cold winter nights (yes, sometimes it gets cold in Southern California). We were able to find a large amount of clothing that does not fit or we never wear but was still in great condition. Not only does this help out the people in our own neighborhood, it also helped clear out the clutter in our closet!

The third thing we have done so far is to recycle our used electronics. Like most people, our old electronics just get shelved in the closet where they sit collecting dust until we feel so guilty that we just throw it out. The EPA has a page dedicated to recycling and re-using old electronics like laptops and cell phones, something I really had no idea could be recycled.

We will continue to find new ways to cut down on our carbon footprint, including setting up an indoor composter and making a point of driving as little as possible, among other things I am sure we will come across.

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