Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Recycling is great, but there’s a reason reduce comes first on the list! Reducing your waste is better for the environment.
Recycling leaves a carbon footprint. When you reduce your waste you eliminate items you’d normally recycle and that leads to a lower carbon footprint. Let’s break it down a little more to see how this small change has the potential to make a big difference in reducing waste.
When you have less items to recycle you don’t have to go to the recycling drop off point as often, which saves you fuel and means less emissions from your car.
The reduction in items to be recycled means not as many items need to be transported to the recycling facility; therefore fewer vehicles are needed for pick-up and transporting. This leads to a smaller workload for the recycling facility, so they don’t have to run the machinery as much, and the plant uses less electricity.
Wow, it’s a whole chain of events; who knew? And the more people who are reducing waste, the more of a difference it will make.
Another reason to reduce your waste is because many items you use aren’t recyclable. This way there is less rubbish going into our landfill sites.
Now you’re thinking “great, but how do I take action?” Here are a few tips and examples of things you can do in your everyday life to reduce your waste.
You leave your house in the morning to go grab some coffee at the convenience store or coffee shop on your way to work. Stop. Instead of using the disposable cups they give you bring along a travel mug. Let’s say you drink one cup of coffee a day each week. By using a reusable mug you are eliminating seven cups from your waste each week. That’s 365 cups a year. Now imagine if your spouse, your neighbour, and your friend all go green, that’s 1460 cups a year!
So let’s fast forward from breakfast to lunch time. You packed your own lunch, all nice in plastic bags. Wait, that’s not so nice. Instead of using plastic bags use some food containers. I prefer the glass ones, but if you don’t want to lug around breakables all day go for the plastic ones. Also, I suggest bringing your own lunch rather than hitting the fast food joints for three reasons: it’s normally healthier, saves you money, and you won’t end up with the fast food bags and paper wrapping. That’s right; the simple act of bringing your lunch from home instead of going through the drive thru is eco-friendly and wallet friendly and waistline friendly.
What’s next on the list? water. Think of all the plastic you use by drinking bottled water, it’s a lot. Don’t go buy bottles of water, instead use a reusable water bottle. I really like the stainless steel ones, they can take a beating, are lightweight, and most of them have a clip (or a place to put a clip). The clip makes them great for hiking since you can just clip them onto your backpack.
I like to use the clip on mine to put my keys on. Alright, I know what’s coming next…”but I drink bottled water because I like it to be purified!” Yeah, I like my water purified too. There is a simple solution to this dilemma, get either a filter pitcher or one of the filter attachments for your faucet.
Grocery store time! Bring your reusable bag instead of using plastic bags. Do you really need a produce bag? Probably not. Shop for items that have little packaging. Many natural grocery stores and Whole Food stores have milk that comes in glass bottles that the dairy farm reuses. You have to pay a deposit, but when you bring it back you get your deposit back and the store sends it to the dairy farm where they sanitize it and then reuse it. The only waste is the plastic lid! If the store asks if you want your receipt say no and they won’t print it out, saving that paper.
That’s it for now. I hope that you will incorporate these small changes into your life if you haven’t already done so. Remember, even the small things add up and make a big difference for Reducing Waste