You just finished eating lunch and you have an empty water bottle, paper bag, and plastic Ziploc bag sitting in front of you. Instead of tossing it into the trash, why not take the extra couple of seconds to sort through these items and recycle them?
Whether it’s from laziness or misinformation, we all seem to have a reason for why we don’t recycle. No matter the reason, we can all afford to take the time to recycle rather than waste.
The average person wastes 1.5 tons of solid waste per year, and only about 30 percent of that amount is actually recycled.
Why You Should Reduce Waste
Reduce, reuse, and recycle:
- Preserve natural resources. Recycling just one newspaper every month for a year saves a full-grown tree and reduces contributions to air pollution by 95 percent. Challenge: Recycle your newspaper every day.
- Save energy. Collecting recyclables and processing them into new materials still requires energy, but far less than required to make those same products from new materials.
- Fight climate change. Climate change occurs when gasses, such as carbon dioxide and methane, trap heat in our atmosphere. These gasses are generated when energy is created, which is used in the production of new bottles and cans.
There are lots of ways to reduce your waste. Here are a few simple tips to get you started:
1. Pack waste-free lunches
Avoid using Ziploc bags and single-serving packaged products such as juice pouches and yogurt cups. Pack your sandwiches, snacks, and drinks in reusable containers and bring silverware with you.
Use reusable bags when buying groceries, produce, or items at the mall.
This challenge is usually the most difficult for consumers. Buying less can be good for not only the environment, but also for your health, well-being, and your pocketbook.
Take the extra time to sort through your newspaper, beverage containers, electronic equipment, office paper, and batteries. Just remember, every bit counts.
5. Buy Quality
Purchase durable, long-lasting goods. The cost may be higher, but you will reduce your waste in the long run.
Instead of throwing away your old items, charitable groups such as Goodwill Industries and the Salvation Army will take clothes, toys, furniture, and appliances off your hands. As the saying goes, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.