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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

By John Pumilio on August 6, 2009
The words reduce, reuse, recycle easily roll off our tongues. But when was the last time we gave these words some thought?
Consider for a moment that these three words are not equal.
Reduce instructs us to reconsider the stuff we eye and buy, but rarely need. Buying less and experiencing more is a good moto for a healthier planet and a happier you. The average product we consume contains only about 5 percent of the resources and energy that went into manufacturing and transporting it. The other 95 percent is waste. We can do a lot to reduce the waste we produce by reducing unnecessary material possessions. Click here to watch the Story of Stuff: a short video on our consumption behaviors and the impact this has on our environment.
Reuse challenges us to consider creative and sensible options for our unwanted goods besides throwing them in the trash. No matter how unique your unwanted items are, you can usually find them a new home. Use Craig’s List or E-Bay. Better yet, donate your items to a local organization such as Heritage Farm in Bouckville, Hope House and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees in Utica, Worn Again clothing shop in Hamilton, and the Community Action Partnership in Morrisville. Additionally, at the end of every academic year, the COVE will pickup your unwanted items through their Salvage program to donate to local charities. Read more about Salvage and watch this video!
One of the simplest and most important things we can do to protect our environment is to recycle. Recycling preserves precious resources, avoids building new landfills, conserves energy, and reduces water pollution, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. At Colgate, take a moment to place your recyclable items (i.e. glass, plastic containers and bottles, metal cans, paper products, cardboard, and electronic waste) in the correct bin. Do you have a recycle bin at home, in your residence hall, or in your office? Does everyone know where it is? Is it properly labeled and frequently used? If not, then it is time to take action! Be a sustainability champion and spearhead your very own recycling campaign. Not sure where or how to begin? Check out these resources:
Have ideas on how Colgate can save resources? …reduce landfill waste? …or increase recycling rates? Please share!

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