Melissa's Cuisine: The 3 R's

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The 3 R's

We all learned them in elementary school...Reading, wRiting, and 'Rithmetic, right?  Well how about the other 3 very important R's?  Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  Today we'll talk about those 3.  When I was in school, we focused on the latter group of 3 R's around Earth Day, in March.  However, that was only one day a year, and unfortunately the lessons weren't always put into action.

Do you know how easy it really is to Reduce the waste you make, Reuse products (to reduce waste), and Recycle?  It won't add a lot of work into your busy schedule and there are so many products out there to make it easy for us to help our environment.  For instance, check out this trash can I received from the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program!  From the outside, it may look like a regular trash can, but on the inside, it's so much more.


This trash can is split down the middle, one half is for recyclable items and the other half is for waste products.  It makes it so simple to put things in the recycle bin rather than taking the easy way out and throwing it away!  Plus, this bin is super neat because it has a motion sensor so I can throw things away without making a mess.

Another way I reduce the waste we generate is to reuse products like Cool Whip and Margarine containers.  Instead of recycling them (or worse...throwing them away!), I wash the empty containers out and use them for other foods.  They are great for packing food in Mike's lunch, storing leftovers, and freezing items.  I also reuse plastic Ziploc bags, they typically don't get ruined after one use so we'll wash them out, let them dry, and use them again.
Something new to me is composting.  Growing up, my grandparents always had a compost bin.  They had two containers under the sink, one for trash and the other for compost.  They had a compost bin behind their house that they used for their garden.  Now that I have my own garden, I'm trying to keep it organic, and using compost is a great way to achieve that.  I got a great compost bin from Foodbuzz, and I keep it under my sink.  It's actually sold by Gaiam and I love it because it has a filter to prevent the items from making my kitchen stink. 

I put all my peels, leftovers from fresh fruits and veggies, and crushed egg shells in my bin.  Basically, you can compost anything that comes from the ground, but no meats or anything covered in fat.  Then I take it outside and add it to my large compost bin.  I learned that it's important to add some "brown" material to the "green" matter.  That is, you should mix in some leaves or grass clippings (browns) with the fresh items (greens) that you are adding to your compost.  I'll mix it up once a week or so and come next spring, I'll have a great fertilizer for my garden!

What about you?  What ways do you reduce your amount of waste?  What do you reuse?  Do you compost?

As part of the Glad Brand Ambassador Program through Foodbuzz, I received Glad products, a trash can/recycling bin, a composting bin, and a stipend to cover my expenses. Even though I was compensated for these posts, the opinions contained in the post are all my own.
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