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“NC Zoo General Curator Ken Reininger loads used fluorescentlight bulbs to take to a nearby recycling station.”

We’re All Earth’s Trustees

W

e’ve become a disposable, Styrofoam society. Throwaway towels, bottles, gloves, cups—even cameras. Unfortunately, we often overlook the wake of debris and mountains of trash these disposals leave behind. Recycling has become an unsubstantiated rumor, it seems. Imagine for a moment the average coffee counter in any fastfood restaurant or convenience store: personalized plastic milk and cream containers, individual packets of sugar, plastic stirrers and cups (with plastic tops), even an added paper or plastic ring around the cup to avoid burned fingers. Then imagine this debris collecting each hour, each day, each week, year after year. And that’s just for coffee. Don’t even get me started about excessive fast-food wrappers. Unfortunately, creating disposable products is a viable business strategy since it means that consumers must buy replacement products. Remember cloth diapers? They were often used for multiple children and finally used as rags

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lexington magazine

By Tom Gillespie, NC Zoo Staff

(replaced now by paper towels) when too worn for baby use. As consumers, we’ve been so acclimated to disposable or upgraded products that we don’t even think about it. After all, advertising has taught us that new is good and old is bad--or at least horribly out of style. How many of us have bought a thinner, faster cell phone with more “bells and whistles” when our old phone worked just fine? As trustees of our planet, we must begin to consider the footprints that we leave on the earth and take steps in our daily lives to lessen our personal impact. By now, we all know and understand the importance of recycling. Recycling is great, but reusing is even better. Try these tips: Put plastic knives, forks and spoons in the dish dryer for re-use. For sanitary reasons, it’s best not to use them after about a week, but even then you can use the knives for handy markers for plants in the garden. Just write whatever you planted in Sharpie on the handle and stick it in the soil. Save the plastic bag that wraps the morning newspaper. Put it in your purse or briefcase for when

you have to take your wet umbrella indoors, simply pop it in the bag. Re-use yogurt containers for small seedling pots or to store leftover food and other perishables. Wash and re-use Styrofoam takeout containers. They’re obviously good for holding leftovers and also for craft rooms or workshops. Old cardboard egg containers are great for soundproofing a room. Their design is perfect for absorbing sound waves. They also make good fire lighters for camping trips and make good containers for things like hair ties or small office supplies. And, like yogurt containers, they’re great for seedling pots. How about that old shower curtain? Use it as a drop cloth for painting, as a cover for picnic tables or, when cut to size, use it as a windshield cover against ice in winter. And for those who are serious about water conservation, save the water in the tub after showering. Then, dip the water out with a bucket and use that water to flush the toilet. Also, consider not having the water running the entire time while showering. Make your home green. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs, low-

Lexington Magazine - Mockup  

Lexington Magazine is positive, upbeat community publications dedicated to representing, encouraging and celebrating the great area we call...

Lexington Magazine - Mockup  

Lexington Magazine is positive, upbeat community publications dedicated to representing, encouraging and celebrating the great area we call...

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