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    Go home and look at the items you own. Now use the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) and examine items that you feel that you can reduce , reuse , and recycle to decrease the amount of waste headed to the landfill. Discuss any decisions you have made regarding the three R’s in you home as well as any thoughts that you had on this weeks presentation and field trip.


    My husband and I use a lot of paper in our jobs. John is a real estate broker and often has a lot of flyers printed on one side. When the home is sold, or the information is outdated (price reduction or such), we keep all of the extra fliers and print on the backside (just inserting the paper into the tray upside down) for printing things for our personal use. We also use a lot of the envelopes that we get in the mail for shopping lists and for writing notes to each other (using up the space) before we recycle it. We haven’t purchased any note pads in the past 10 years. We also purchase a lot of our foods in bulk, to reduce packaging.

    The trip to the landfill will remain in my mind forever. We can’t like this, it is not sustainable. One decision that I have made is to talk to people about reducing, reusing and recycling more often. With my hairdresser, with my neighbors, with my co-workers. Social Media has shown the value of a single post being shared again and again. Hopefully the message for the 3Rs will become greater than all of the air born and tree stuck plastic bags in our environment.


    It was overwhelming to see how much stuff is thrown away. It’s crazy that 60% of what is taken to the landfill can be recycled! I’m continuing to compost all our food waste (at least non-animal stuff). We have 5 keyhole garden beds so in the main garden bed I layer cardboard/paper/etc. and grass clippings. The gardens also have compost baskets where I layer our food waste, dryer lint, shredded paper, and coffee grounds from my office. I’m going to put a counter top compost bin at work to see if people will put their food waste in there to help. I now have a bucket to put our glass and I’ll take it to a Momentum Recycling bin in SLC when it fills up. I live in North Salt Lake so we don’t have the option to recycle glass yet. I am going to call Waste Management who does our recycling to clarify what items can be recycled. The information online isn’t clear. I also am determined to reduce my spending.

    I’m also going to start a blog to document my experience in this class, and my journey overall on trying to get to zero waste.

    Baby steps!

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 10 months ago by rebeccacengiz.

    I went to a frozen yogurt establishment today and was so sad to see no recycling available for the cardboard cups and (assuming recyclable) plastic spoons. A recycling bin + a sink to wash out the cups would be amazing (I brought mine home to recycle).

    When I shop, I use reusable fabric grocery bags and carry along with me used produce plastic bags to use until worn, and then recycle.

    I’ve always been a huge fan of second hand and DIY projects with wood, pallets, nails etc. I’ll shop at thrift stores instead of buying new, even for gifts! Or just make something and gift it.

    I’ve also gotten into minimalism and am in the process of reducing items in my house (giving away what I don’t want, selling clothes to second hand and consignment stores, etc). I looove putting bins of stuff in my front yard with a big FREE sign, fun for everyone I think! (Besides the free section of craigslist and, there’s also a great organization found at

    And picking up trash! Always been a hobby of mine. I think it helps people to see as well. We can all give each other good ideas 🙂


    Very good ideas! I do like to reframe words though, when people ask me why I am picking up garbage, or trash from the sidewalks and playgrounds–I tell them that I am picking up recyclables. Then I give them a 30 second lesson about recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans.


    The landfill was a reminder for me of how important it is that we demand policies and corporations that design Cradle-to-Cradle. We need to be rethinking our resource cycles and most importantly how to change what we use for packaging. The fact that 65% of the landfill is made up of recyclables was the most alarming statistic I heard from Ashlee. It’s embarrassing!

    At home I do my best to recycle all that I can. We don’t have recycling available in my apartment complex and when I asked my landlord why, she said she had tried, but it was just too complicated!!!! What! I now have to cart my recyclables to other places when I get a chance (because I don’t have a car this makes things particularly challenging). I also collect my compost and bring it to work where we have a composting system, which is nice. At work I collect misprinted 1-sided pieces of paper and use the backsides to set my daily agendas and take meeting notes.

    I really want to get more knowledgeable about what can and can’t be recycled.


    Lisa, in that case I pick up trash and recyclables!! Definitely a great way to spread the message (about recycling and keeping the earth clean). I’ll speak the same if someone asks


    I think one thing that Ashlee said that really struck me was how “untouchable” garbage is. Once it’s in the can, it will probably never be touched again, no matter it’s reusable value. This has heightened my mindfulness of what goes into the waste bin. This weekend I had a paint spill on some supplies and containers. Instead of throwing them away, I took the extra time to wash/peel off the paint so they wouldn’t have to been thrown out or replaced. A small act, but hopefully this kind of attitude can make a difference in the long term.


    I live downtown in small little apartment and recycling is actually provided for us here. I have two bins in my spot for recycling. Typically the items that are recycled are paper(packaging, receipts, and mail mostly), food containers/packaging, beer boxes and cans seem to take up more space then I care to explain. haha. 🙂 I am not perfect, still catching myself saying its ok this time, and think that recycling can be inconvenient. But its worth it! I think once recycling becomes a bigger priority for people and the government it will become just as easy as throwing whatever it is away. It will just depend on which bin.
    I always have a guilty conscience about water usage. I have and use a dishwasher which I know uses A LOT more water than washing them by hand, but I try to use it sparingly and do the pots and pans by hand. I definitely need to try and use less water. Using less power seems like a problem i’ve had since I was a kid, but turning off things is something i’ve been more aware of lately. The lights, tv, and xbox are my biggest problem areas. Also shutting the fridge timely is something my dad would always get on my case about. I wonder how much energy it takes to replace the amount of cool air every time we open the fridge? Anyone?
    I seldom buy bottled water and use a brits filter if I need to get hydrated. Like Michele I take reusable bags to the grocery store. Although every once in a while I will forget and end up with several plastic bags, but I will use those bags as garbage bags for my bathroom trash or the cat. I’ll wrap them to his feet. Hilarious. Does that count as a reuse? I will also use the produce bags as sandwich baggies or something similar. I’ll even reuse zip lock bags if I can.
    I have a hard time with consumerism, and the messages that we send people of convenience. Buy more stuff because its cool! Ya! how about buy more stuff because you NEED it. I can’t believe there was a 20% drop in their collection during the recession. That was one thing that stuck out to me from what Ashlee said. I fell like I could go on and on about the 3 R’s, but being more about not being wasteful will have an impact in each area.


    I am using vacation hours to leave early for these classes – so my supervisor is aware of what I am doing. In the past, some of my co-workers would tease me about being the “garbage” lady because I frequently removed plastic bottle, cans and paper from office waste cans and put them into the recycling can (pretty much right next to it). I’m sure some believe that I am wasting my time. However, I felt some degree of success today because a supervisor knocked on my door to ask me a “recycling question”. It was about packaging material he had at home. He said that he didn’t want to throw it away, but wasn’t sure if it was recyclable. I explained that we often take all of our boxes, packaging peanuts, air pillows, and other wrappings for mailing to a package mailing business. They love receiving these items, and do reuse them. So the supervisor is going to bring his packaging material to me, and my husband will take them to the business.

    Also, we take our plant pots to the nursery for reuse. (If we plant seeds ourselves, we will use toilet paper rolls (cut in thirds) to hold the soil and begin the seeds before transplanting. However if we buy any starter plants in plastic pots – we give them to the nursery for reuse.


    It’s been great to share the class info with my kids, they are genuinely interested in recycling in a variety of ways. We recently had a yard sale together, it gave them the chance to make some money and finding new homes for many reusable items. I’m another recycling/garbage picker upper in my neighborhood It’s a great community service and make a difference about how I feel when I come and go from my home. It would be amazing to know exactly what can and cannot be recycled and how, I’m looking forward to the ongoing education.


    My job makes me think of recycling items on a much larger scale do to the fact I have so many resources available to me. Yesterday I had to meet with a developer that is building a dirt race track for motocross racing. After the initial conversation about his needs for roll off equipment which my company provides, I asked him about how he gets the dirt needed to build the jumps and tracks. He indicated he has to find dirt fill from landscape and other resources. I asked him if he could use sawdust or wood chips in his mix. His eyes lit up. I then told him we have several 30 yd dumpsters we haul each week that goes to the landfills. Today, I will be arranging these cans to be diverted from the landfill to his project saving 30 tons of waste from going to the landfills each week. THAT’S HUGE!!!

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