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Recycling makes a big difference with endless possibilites

By Kristen Copeland & Photographer Tommy Geise

(WKTV) - Recycling is great. I think we would all agree that it's making a big difference. But what if we didn't have the waste in the first place?!

"The easiest waste to deal with is the waste you never create," said Paul MacEnroe, president of the Mohawk Valley Applied Technology Corporation. "If you don't create it, you don't have to deal with it."

MacEnroe helps other businesses see the bigger picture when it comes to saving energy and saving dollars.

"If everyone just did what they could right now we'd be further ahead," he said. "Take the small steps and then we can take the big steps."

The small steps are things you might not even think of.

"Turn off your monitor before you go to lunch," he said. "How many times do you go into a store, buy one item and put it in a bag? You can carry that out without a bag."

Again - if you don't create it, you don't have to deal with it. Take for example, your morning coffee. If you're picking up a cup every single day, the empties add up.

"Multiply me by every person," he said. "It becomes substantial. We're simply buying something to throw it away."

Why not test drive a travel mug that you can use over and over again?

"Any time you have something going in the dumpster, up the stack or down the drain, you have the opportunity to stop it."

MacEnroe says more and more people are recycling paper, plastic and glass, which is great. But what if you don't have the packaging in the first place? He uses the example of he and his wife grocery shopping.

"She says 'oh look there's some mashed potatoes.' Plastic bottom, plastic top,'" he said. "I pick up two potatoes and said here's some mashed potatoes."

The possibilities are endless!

One more example for you - one piece of paper as a memo sent out to workers at a local company. In order for it to get into one employees hands, it has to go through 20 steps, including processing and delivery.

Why not just use e-mail?

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