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Jennie's Journey

Hunters and fishermen have been taking care of the environment for decades, always mindful of the age-old saying, "Take out what you bring in."

They don't want the beautiful lands that provide them with their bounty to be spoiled, and as they bring in the food that will sustain their families, they are controlling wildlife populations.

Those who do not hunt or fish can also do their part to take care of the earth.

American society is taking steps toward reducing the number of plastic bags going into the landfills through the purchase of re-usable shopping bags available at the check-out.

Recycling has become more prevalent, as well.

Years ago, I lived in Springfield, Ore. We had our garbage bin and a recycling bin. My family was diligent in placing newspaper, glass and milk cartons in the blue bin meant for recyclables.

We also took our aluminum cans to the nearby convenience store for the 5 cent deposit refund at least two times per week.

I admit, my sister and I used the money to buy candy or more soda. But, we still cared that we were doing something to reduce the waste in our landfills.

It isn't as convenient to recycle in rural areas. I understand this. Having lived in a rural community where recycling was not possible before my mother moved us to Oregon, I always thought those pushing recycling habits needed to be more realistic.

Living in the Lower Valley, it is once again not the most convenient practice.

I am looking to the future, though. I have seen the Cheyne landfill. I have seen all the plastic bags that refuse to be buried by the big bulldozer.

That is why I choose to collect all those plastic bags in my home and reuse them. Wal-Mart has a program, as does Safeway, in which customers can return plastic bags for recycling purposes.

Washington residents are finding ways in which they can recycle, and according to the Department of Ecology, the residents of this state have achieved a new high, pushing the recycling rate to 45 percent in 2008.

Lower Valley residents have more options available to them than I did as a child. We can all take advantage of recycling bins located at Bi-Mart and near the Sunnyside Law and Justice Center. There is also the option of traveling to Grandview's recycling center or throwing recyclables into bins located at the Cheyne landfill. Snipes Mountain transfer station also has a few recycling options.

It may not be curbside bins like those we had living in Springfield, but a little effort can go a long way toward "Taking out what we bring in."

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