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Ready, set, go… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Today the world is filled with uncertainty, challenges and changes. One thing that is certain is the need to continue to recycle, reduce and reuse materials. On average each person in the United States throws away 1,609 pounds of trash per year. The United States is the number one trash producing country in the world. In 2018, Ohio alone generated approximately 32.75 million tons of waste. Hamilton County, Ohio is the home of a trash mountain named “Mount Rumpke” which towers 1,045 feet above sea level.

With the current challenges and changes being made due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families are spending more time at home together. This time together provides a great opportunity to build new routines and work together as a family to make a positive change in our community, country and our world. The 3 R’s of waste management, reduce, reuse, recycle, can easily become household words by planning and working together. It can become a fun project for all ages.

To begin, work together as a family to decide how big or small you want to make your plan. Many families start small, by choosing a certain focus, if they are new to the idea of the 3 R’s. Over time, small plans grow into larger plans as families generate new ideas on how to reduce materials, create ways to reuse packaging and containers, and find ease in recycling a variety of items.

Think about your home, brainstorm a variety of ways to reduce, reuse and recycle in each room. Common things to think about are lightbulbs, electronics, food packaging, food and water waste, plastic bottles, metal and aluminum cans and paper. Both children and adults can have fun thinking about and creating a list of commonly used items in the home. Work together to decide your family’s focus.

Lastly, set your family up for success by creating designated bins/areas for recycling items, have reminders posted to save items that can be reused, and make known the plan on how your family will be reducing the use of certain items. Over time check-in together as a family to see how your plan is working. Families can track their efforts by noting the number/pounds of items recycled, bags of clothing donated to be reused, or even the number of new creative meals made from leftovers. Working together as a family to make small changes can lead to huge results. The results of your efforts will help create a cleaner world. Enjoy the process!

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