Earth Day organization

Thursday, April 22, is Earth Day so I would like to use this column to give you some easy organizing ideas that will help you do your part to save our planet.

I would like to start with a story about my Dad. He loves to print articles and good information off of the internet and share it with his kids or grandkids.

What is always interesting when you get a printed article from Dad is that typically it is printed on the back side of something else he has printed before. It’s his way of recycling paper.

He keeps a basket near his printer that he puts paper that has only been used on one side. It is nice and convenient to feed it into his printer in order to print something on the other side. What a simple way to recycle paper.

Do you ever find recyclable items in your garbage cans around the house? You might find empty shampoo bottles in the bathroom garbage can, or pop cans in the bedroom garbage cans.

You know the items are recyclable but you or someone you live with still puts these items in the garbage — never to be recycled. Why is that?

Could it be because the recycling bin is not located a convenient place in your house? Are you limiting yourself to one recycling bin?

I know many people have one bin they keep in their kitchen, but that doesn’t help the items that are disposed of in the bedrooms and bathrooms. In my household to eliminate that problem we have located a nice bin just outside the bedrooms and bathrooms on the second floor that is designated as a recycling bin.

It’s very convenient to drop those shampoo bottles and pop cans right there. Once a week on garbage day we carry the recycling bin from the second floor and empty it into the large one in the garage.

Do you buy or use new bags every time you go to the grocery or discount store? How many plastic bags have you collected? Did you know it takes 500 or more years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill?

One of the best and easiest things you can do to prevent the use of plastic bags is to collect reusable bags and keep them stored in your car. So many times, people stop to grab a couple things at the grocery store and because they did not plan to do that, they also do not have a reusable bag to use.

But if you keep a stash of reusable bags in your car then you have solved the problem. I make sure both mine and my husband’s cars are equipped with reusable bags.

Speaking of plastic bags, are you still using a Ziploc bags for all your lunch components? Well, it is super easy and affordable to buy containers that are the perfect size for a sandwich, a handful of chips, some fruit and a cookie or two.

By using reusable containers, you are reducing the use of baggies and saving money by not having to purchase them over and over. These four simple ideas are a great start on your way to reducing, reusing and recycling more.

For other great ideas, visit

Beth Randall, of Illinois, is a professional speaker and professional organizer. She can be reached through the Daily Journal at