William F. Shugart II’s op-ed, “Recycling not as cheap as you think” [Opinion, Jan. 4], didn’t offer good alternatives to recycling. Recycling alone is not the cure for a cleaner world. Recycling is the last in a series of three R’s, but it has been the focus since the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle” took off in the 1970s.

The first deed is to reduce acquiring stuff in our modern, materialistic world. This could cut the ecological harm hauling and landfilling cause. Reuse is the second, but also key step. This entails using canvas bags at the store, sewing clothing tears, using tools to fix damaged items, donating or selling unwanted items, and using glass dishware and stainless steel water bottles. Not everything can be reduced or reused, but much of what is left can be recycled.

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Jaime Van Dyke

Hicksville