"Reduce, reuse, recycle" was the mantra they taught kids like me in elementary school. It was a chant they made us memorize, it's indelibly burned into my memory. Buy what you need, repurpose it if possible, recycle it when you can. I remember Saturday mornings when my Dad would load up the garbage and recycle bins with last-minute aluminum foil balls and cans, my brother & I would take them to the curb. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

One of our local refuse and recycle service providers in Montana is getting into the holiday spirit and using an interesting approach to encouraging recycling while we're eating, drinking, being merry and giving gifts to each other. The Republic Services gingerbread house in the main concourse of Missoula's Southgate Mall stands just under 6' tall and is made entirely of recycled materials.

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Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin
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Republic Services constructed this "holiday recycling display" entirely out of recyclable materials; cardboard walls, smashed aluminum cans for the candy canes. Let's look at the roof closer to see if it stays true to the recycle theme:

Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin
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Unused paper plates and plastic bottle caps (attached the bottle they came on) are both recyclable. KEEP THE CAP ON.

Republic left literature at the site for the public to get informed about recycling: they claim on one sign American households generate 1,000 extra pounds of trash in between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day: bottles, cans, etc. There are also educational materials at all four corners of the house, like this one:

Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin
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"Reduce, reuse, recycle." As well as recycling tips, Republic reminds us with this sign which hangs over the gingerbread house on what goes in the trash, not in the recycle bin:

Credit: Benny Edwin
Credit: Benny Edwin
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Visitors to Southgate Mall can see it for themselves and get free tips on how they can help out over the holidays at each corner of the gingerbread house.

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