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When shopping for supplies, choose the food, drinks and toiletries that have the least packaging. Buy in bulk and refill your own containers. Plan your menu and purchase only the items you truly think you'll need so that you will have less perishable items to throw out. Don't buy disposable plates, cups, cutlery and napkins -- after all, if you've got a sink, hose or tub you've got a washing vessel!
Recycling diverts up to 30 per cent of your household's waste from landfills. Remove excess packaging from newly purchased necessities before you head to the cottage so you can put it in your recycling bin at home.
Better yet, remove all packaging from food items and transfer the food into reusable containers, too. This will make for easier stacking and storage in small cottage refrigerators. In addition, bringing beverage containers that qualify for a return deposit instead of metal cans, encourages you to return them after use.
Repair old furniture and other items instead of throwing them out. Check out projects by Earth Day Canada's Upcycling Challenge winners to get some ideas of what you can do with items that may seem ready for the garbage. Getting crafty will also create fun activities for everyone to take part in.
Share magazines and newspapers with your neighbours before you throw them into the recycling bin -- or you can even create artwork out of them.
5. Hazardous waste
Be especially careful with the disposal of hazardous waste items, including batteries, pesticides, herbicides and household cleaners and the bottles they come in.
Better yet, use biodegradable and environmentally safe cleaning products at the cottage, such as newspaper and vinegar for cleaning windows and baking soda and salt for cleaning sinks.
When you compost your food scraps, grass clippings, leaves and other yard debris, you can cut your household garbage by a third or even in half. A composter converts food waste into rich organic material that you can then use in your garden.
Composting doesn't have to create wildlife worries. Avoid adding meats and cheese to your compost and any wildlife problems will be minimized. Select a convenient location for an outdoor compost bin that is away from your cottage.
Have a great time in the fresh air knowing that you and your family and friends are doing your part to preserve and protect the environment at the same time as enjoying it. For more ideas and information about how to lower your impact on the environment, visit earthday.ca.
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