Sunday, November 6, 2011

Waste Reduction


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It's the first one!

There are a lot of things we can all do day to day to help the environment in many different ways. One way that tends to get overlooked quite often is just reducing the amount of everything that we consume. Not only does it keep stuff out of landfills, but it also reduces the amount of stuff that needs to be manufactured. This cuts down on impact on the planet at so many steps along the way!

This about all the stuff that you by and how much packaging came along with it. Christmas night at my house is always spent patching up cuts on my fingers from trying to open those plastic clam shell packages. I wouldn't miss them at all. Stores love them because they display the products nicely and cut down on theft. However if we at a population stopped buying products that came in this kind of wasteful packaging stores would change their tune very quickly!

Thinking of how to reduce the amount of waste we create can be overwhelming but there really is one very easy way to track it. Start paying attention to how full your trashcan is each week when you bring it out to the curb. Make it a game with your family to try to make it as empty as possible each week. First try to get all the stuff you can into the recycle bin instead. Then start expanding the ways you can put less in your trashcan. Extend it out as far as your shopping habits. If you have two options for a product you need and one comes with less packaging then choose it.

I remember watching a documentary a few years ago where a women said that should could put everything that she throws away in a year into a coffee can! Can you imagine?! She was really committed and I'm very jealous. She did her food shopping at an organic co-op. She obviously used canvas bags to bring her goods home. She would bring containers with her which she was reusing and would use them to buy her bulk food. She would make sure any containers she did need to buy could be recycled. She would also sometimes make the hard decision sometimes that even though she wanted something she just couldn't find an option that didn't include way too much wasteful and unneeded packaging, so she wouldn't get the product. Maybe she'd wait a few years until the product was in the market for a while and then try to find it at a garage sale or Craig's list or something like that.

Once you really start thinking about the stuff that you throw away and how you can maximize waste reduction it gets to be a game. It's always disappointing me to on garbage night to have a can overfull. The good news is that there are weeks when it's so empty that I really wonder if it's worth putting the can out. Now I just need to figure out how to do that every week!

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