It sounds corny, but it was hard to contain my joy when I realized that recycling is widely available in my new town after all. I have lived in and been to places where the possibility didn’t exist, and had a real guilt complex about it. Recently, upon entering the downstairs lobby of a notary’s building, I noticed three recycling bins and immediately started plotting how I could gain access to them to deposit my plastic, glass, and paper. Luckily, it seems that there are in fact public recycling bins around…I just have to find them.
But what to do if you end up in a place without recycling? I was troubled by this while traveling in India, but then came to the realization that local people just create SO much less waste than people in my own country…that it didn’t really make sense to compare situations. Still, recycling is certainly ideal. You can check how big your environmental footprint is based on, in part, the place where you live here.
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Visit the Eco Travel Logue for ideas on how to travel in a way that’s friendly to the environment, and if you live in a place where recycling isn’t really available, read on for some common sense info on how you can minimize your impact:
Reduce: In many places, simply by buying the locally offered brands, you are wasting much less packaging material than you would at home. Try to avoid one-use products like paper plates and paper towels…commit to doing dishes regularly and clean with towels or rags. Bring your own bags when you go shopping.
Reuse: Teachers generally go through a LOT of paper. Paper that has printing on only one side can be used for lesson plans, rough drafts of other work, and sometimes even class handouts (make sure the reverse side is not a copy of the test, however. Not that this has happened.). Plastic and glass containers with lids can be used as storage containers and plastic bags can be used as garbage bags.