Did you know that Americans dispose more than 700 billion pounds of paper, plastic, glass, wood, food, metal, clothing, electronics, etc. annually? 7000 billion pounds!!! Having a hard time comprehending this?! Consider this: The largest oil platform ever built, and the heaviest object ever moved, was put in place in the North Sea in 1978. This platform weighs some 660,000 tons, more than 1 billion pounds!Now multiply that by 700. That is how much trash is being generated from just one country.
The problem of managing these amount of waste is nothing short of overwhelming for governments. Thankfully, there are easy ways for us consumers to change this number and make a difference. There are simple ways to cut down on waste, from buying concentrated household products to buying in bulk. Today, I am going to share with you 8 ways you can recycle, reduce, and reuse.
1. Buy in bulk or in loose. When you are working on a home renovation, buy your screws, nails, and other bits out of the bins and not those packaged in boxes. When you are shopping for groceries, get as much as you can out of the bulk bins so that you do’t have to bring home loads of packaging containers.
2. Bring your own bags when shopping. When you go shopping, bring your own bags or boxes to bring your items home in. Keep a supply of bags on hand in your car so that no matter when you stop at the store, you are prepared. If you really want to get creative, make some of your own bags out old shirts or shorts. This makes them easy to wash and use time and time again.
3. Use concentrated household products. Concentrated products often require less packaging, resulting in less energy to transport it to the store and less plastic to recycle. They also cost you less money since you don’t have to purchase them as often. There are many different items you can get in concentrated format. Just read the labels at the store and look for the number of uses per bottle.
4. Reuse what you can. When you have mess to clean up, use cloth napkins, sponges, or dishclothes that can be washed instead of reaching for paper towels. In our house, we use rags for cleaning, cloth napkins, and washable dish cloths. We also save containers from items and reuse them for storage at a later time. For example, if we buy ice cream in a tub, I save the tub to freeze homemade stock at a later date.
5. Go rechargeable. When buying battaries or other electronics, aim to get items that use rechargeable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are especially useful for items that use a lot of electricity and need new batteries more often. When you have old batteries that are no longer good, recycle them through your local agency. This helps keep toxic metals from ending up in the landfills. We currently have an old milk jug that contains our used batteries that we can easily take to the depot.
6. Buy energy smart. When you are on the lookout for new appliances and as you need to replace what you have, make sure to invest in energy saving brands that have decent warranties. It is your way of going green and saving yourself money since these products will run more efficiently than what you currently have.
7. Get creative. Reuse scrap paper and envelopes. Save and reuse ribbons, tissue paper, gift boxes amd even wrapping paper. We save all of our gift wear and we reuse it when we are giving a gift. I don’t think I have bought any gift goods for over two years. Use old cardboard boxes and egg cartons for doing crafts with your kids. If you don’t have kids, donate these items to local day cares and schools. They will be extremely grateful.
8. Go thrifty. If you have clothes and furniture that you no longer have use for, donate them to charities or sell them at consignment shops. Someone else will definitely be able to make use of them. Also, pass on hand-me-downs to relatives and friends. The gift of giving is a wonderful thing.
So, as you can see it isn’t difficult to start doing your part to reduce that 700 billion number. You just need to get a little organized and use your creativity.
What kinds of items have you recycled or reused? Any creative tips to share?