REDUCING the amount of waste we produce is more important than recycling it. Here are some helpful tips for reducing waste in your life.
- Get off of junk mail lists once and for all! The easiest way to do this is though Catalog Choice.
- Visit reduce.org for a comprehensive list of ways to get off of mailing lists.
- Opt out of phone books you don’t need.
- Opt out of prescreened credit card offers for 5 years by calling 1-888-567-8688.
- Sign up for online banking and paperless statements for bills.
- Think before you print. Change fonts and margins to fit more on each page when you do print.
- Program computers so they will automatically print double-sided.
- Use both sides of office paper. Set up a GOOS bin (Good On One Side) for paper at your office.
- Reuse cardboard boxes.
- Don’t print receipts at gas stations, and don’t ask for them at stores.
- Bring your own mug to coffee shops.
- Use cloth napkins and ceramic dishes.
- Stopwaste.org provides an excellent guide for reducing paper in the workplace.
- Eat whole foods. In general, the less processed your meal, the less packaging it has.
- Bring your own bags to the store.
- Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying bottled water.
- Choose vegetables that are not packaged in plastic, and bring your own vegetable bags (ziplocs work great and can be washed and reused).
- Buy milk in glass bottles that are washed and reused locally, or in cartons.
- Buy fresh produce from farmer’s markets, or grow your own.
- Buy food from the bulk bins using your own bags
- When there isn’t a bulk bin option, purchase goods in bulk. A 32-ounce yogurt container uses much less plastic than four 8-ounce yogurts.
- Choose products packaged in cardboard instead of plastic.
- Bring your own container to restaurants for a “doggy-bag”.
- For more ideas, visit the Green Education Foundation.
Reduce Some More
- Maintain your car so that it will last longer.
- Purchase durable goods rather than disposable ones.
- Choose clothing that can withstand the test of time.
- Trade with friends. Host a clothing swap to freshen up your wardrobe without purchasing new goods, share books and magazines, or trade children’s toys and clothes with other families.
- Buy in bulk when practical.
- Purchase used, recycled, and refurbished goods.
- Salvage useful material for construction projects, and recycle construction waste when finished.
- Borrow or rent items used infrequently. Are there tools you could share with a neighbor instead of buying? Could you rent an item you only need to use once or twice a year? Unless you are a carpenter, chances are you need the hole, not the drill. Sharing reduces waste and can help simplify your life from the burden of stuff.
Reduce and Recycle your Holiday Waste
- Recycle wrapping paper and cardboard.
- Save bubble wrap for next year, donate it to a local artist, save it for a trashion outfit at next year’s Trash Bash, or pop the bubbles and recycle it with plastic bags with RAD.
- If new electronics were a part of your holiday, make sure you recycle your old electronics and batteries at the Transfer Station.
- Even your holiday tree is recyclable! Drop it off at the brush pile at the transfer station, where it will be made into wood chips. Remember to remove all lights and ornaments first!
- If you upgraded to more energy efficient LED lighting this year, mail your old lights to Holiday LEDs or Christmas Light Source.
Did you know that Americans create 25 percent more waste between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and nearly double their waste right after Christmas? According to a study by the Center for a New American Dream, nine out of ten of us believe that the holidays should be about family and caring rather than “stuff”, yet we still plan on spending 11 percent more on holiday gifts this year than last year.