Ohioans step up to challenge to recycle and reuse more

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Dianne Kadonaga calls recycling, reusing and replanting some of the most important daily decisions you can make. She has stepped up to the Zero Waste challenge.

"Just take a look in your trash can. What is in there that you can make different decisions and eliminate? That is how you get started," said Kadonaga.

Across Franklin County residents are taking part in a green challenge called "Zero Waste". It's the goal of re-using, recycling and composting to the point where you throw absolutely nothing in the trash can.

While zero is the goal, many local moms say simply taking steps in that direction is the progress the challenge is meant to push.

"You know we're busy," said Clintonville working mom Katie Conway. "I work, I take him to school every morning so it's just part of our routine."

Conway said making green options convenient for herself and her family is a big part of making the Zero Waste challenge work.

Every minute is busy for Katie Conway so she makes being green convenient. "Re-usable shopping bags are easy. I like to have mine in my purse," she said as she demonstrated a full-size bag that rolls into a 2-inch ball.

Conway said a few other tips that can help other busy Ohioans reuse and recycle more include ditching disposable dishware. Even for large outdoor barbecues, she has reusable plates, silverware and even straws.
Even her makeup and shampoo are containers that local shops re-use.

"Buying in bulk is also a good thing," said Conway. She said that eliminates some packaging as well as the number of trips to the store.

While Conway is taking a few steps with her Clintonville family to leave less trash behind, Kadonaga has taken huge strides. Her monthly trash output and utility use has fallen so low some can't believe it. She described the public water employees installed a new meter because her usage was marked as impossibly low.

"The decision to think about what is green is a decision for your health and well-being," she said.

In Kadonaga's North Linden backyard you can see a weather-proof greenhouse where she grows much of her food. She makes many of her own household items like cleaners, toothpaste and shampoo. Her teabag is re-usable and so is her mail.

"We don't throw junk mail away. It is perfect for the soil. We use it for something we call lasagna mulching. The worms love it," said Kadonaga.

This weekend as many celebrate Earth Day, Kadonaga said she would be more than happy to answer any questions about how to work closer to the Zero Waste goal.