Healthy lifestyle includes reusing, recycling trash

COMMENTARY /// Protecting the environment

The familiar call to arms has been “reduce, reuse and recycle”— in that order specifically. But too many people think they are doing right by recycling only, when the best course of action is to first reduce, then reuse.

To reduce means to use less and be aware of the environmental impact the items you use have on the planet.

One simple change I recently made was to stop using a lid or a straw if I buy a drink while on the go. If we all choose to forgo these one-time-use products, the day will come when establishments will stop offering plastic utensils and straws, which end up littering the environment and polluting the ocean.

In fact, Calabasas is working on an ordinance to ban plastic straws and utensils, joining other cities and businesses across the country and around the world that have already made that commitment.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use straws at all. Check out Etsy for reusable glass straws, which I am personally obsessed with; glass straws bring drinking cold beverages to a new level.

To reuse means to use again or more than once. There are many ways to reuse. The number of products we encounter in our kitchens alone provide enough items to reuse over and over.

Glass jars can be cleaned and used to hold old batteries, rubber bands, paper clips, bread-bag twist ties, and food staples like rice, flour and sugar.

Check out websites like Pinterest to get ideas on how to reuse not only glass jars but all kinds of household items.

Recycling converts waste into reusable material. The planet is full of unnecessary manufactured products that are killing the ecosystems of our planet. And, unfortunately, the process to recycle manufactured waste has a negative impact on our environment.

Recycling is necessary to protect our planet, but reducing and reusing should come first when practicing the “three Rs.”

Take note of some local businesses that practice the three Rs and make it part of their daily business operations:

Salon Nuuvo in Calabasas makes it a point to reduce their environmental impact on our planet in a stylish way.

They are a Green Circle Salon, which means they “repurpose and recover up to 95 percent of the resources that were once considered waste,” including hair, aerosol cans and leftover hair color, according to

Create Studio in Westlake Village offers an artistic way to keep products out of the waste container. Residents near and far drop off their reusables, which are then sorted into various bins. It’s fascinating to see all the different things people save and drop off at Create Studio, and the upcycled art made there is incredible.

Workshops are offered for all ages, and the open space allows for creative flow while protecting the planet at the same time. “Earth” without “art” is just “eh.”

Gardening is a favorite pastime for many, and residents served by the Las Virgenes Municipal Water and Triunfo Sanitation districts can take advantage of special offers from LVMWD.

Free recycled water that can be used for irrigation and free compost are available every Saturday except holidays.

You’ll need a sealable container to collect the water in, and you’ll need to load the water and compost into your own vehicle. For information, visit

A Calabasas resident, Schwartz has spent 11 years volunteering as the leader of the Chaparral Elementary School and A.C. Stelle Middle School Green Team and serves on the Las Virgenes School District Environmental Stewardship Committee.