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Is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Enough?

Dear Annie: I am not optimistic about the plastic pollution of our planet. I remember a time when plastic did not exist and we managed OK with glass, tin cans, foil, paper, cardboard (waxed for dairy) and something called cellophane. Now everything comes in plastic. Even cans have plastic labels, and glass bottles have plastic caps.

We were told that recycling was taking care of the problem; now we learn that only a tiny fraction of plastic is ever recycled. Even plastic objects that are used for years will eventually wind up in landfills (billions of lawn chairs?). PLASTIC WILL NEVER GO AWAY. What can we do, Annie? -- Plastic Problem

Dear Plastic Problem: Environmentalists around the globe have been talking about plastic and how to deal with it. Below are some tips from the Earth Day Network website on how you can reduce your plastic pollution:

“Reduce

“Reduce your own plastic waste. Start by using our plastic calculator to track how much you use -- then you can take steps to reduce your use and waste.

“Reuse

“Bring your own reusable shopping and produce bags to markets, and avoid using single-use plastic bags.

“Bring your own reusable coffee cup when going out to get beverages.

“Like sipping through straws? Get a reusable stainless steel, glass, or bamboo one to use instead of wasteful plastic ones.

“Instead of buying water in plastic bottles, invest in a water filter and reusable water bottle(s). Bonus: it’s cheaper in the long run.

“Make your own reusable cloth bags from old t-shirts, using basic sewing skills (or no sewing at all). (Find simple instructions online).

“Choose clothing and other personal items made from earthfriendly materials instead of microfibers and other synthetic fibers, which pollute our water. (Even more ways to green your style.)

“Bring a reusable container to a restaurant with you when you expect to have leftovers.

“Refuse

“Refuse straws: It’s as simple as adding, “No straw, please” when requesting beverages at restaurants or cafes.

“Refuse beverage tops. (Are you really going to spill?)

“Remove

“Pick up trash in your neighborhood and when visiting parks and beaches.

“Recycle

“Recycle the plastics you use and no longer need.

“Return single-use bags to grocery stores for them to recycle.”

Dear Annie: I am a divorced female in my late 40s. I have been in a relationship for six years. I work full time and am financially independent. My partner takes offense if I do things for myself, such as working out at the gym, getting manicures and brushing my teeth before bed. He accuses me of not wanting to spend time with him. Am I being selfish? -- Selfish Sally

Dear Selfish Sally: It sounds like you are with Controlling Charlie. There is nothing wrong with going to the gym, brushing your teeth and even getting manicures. In fact, an argument can be made that they are important ingredients of a healthy life. The fact that your boyfriend takes offense to any of this is ridiculous. Make sure you have quality time with him but not at the expense of your health and personal hygiene. If he argues with you, send him packing, and be sure to include his toothbrush.

Ask me aything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to mailto: dearannie@creatois.com

Beloit Call

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