The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that he average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day or about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Even though they estimate that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled. There is no doubt that each of us can recycle more. But, we can also create less trash in the first place.
Everyone can Practice Trash Reduction Now:
- Repurpose – The art of upcycling trash into some useful is alive and well. Before you throw that “trash” away think hard and long bout how it can be re-purposed or reused again. If you are looking for some creative ideas, take a look at some upcycling ideas on Pinterest.
- Watch what you Buy – There are many products that are designed to be conveniently thrown away. Choose to avoid disposable products and opt for investing into reusable, washable products that will not make their way in a landfill after just one or two uses.
- Buy Less – In today’s era of consumerism, it is easy to get caught up in buying the latest and greatest gadget, trendy item, or toy. How often do you see kids forget about new toys or Christmas gifts after just a few days? Sometimes the most simple toys come from nature, things we already own (like pots and pans) or simple items that truly inspire imagination (like that big cardboard box before it makes it to recycling).
- Donate – Don’t forget, “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure“. There are many great charitable organizations that will take items that you do not want. Even clothing that is ripped or stained can often be reused or re-purposed through advanced textile recycling companies.
- Reduce Paper Use – There are so many ways that you can reduce paper waste at home, school, or work. For instance, eliminate junk mail or unwanted phone books by actively calling companies who are soliciting you. Your kids can also do more school work and reading on their tablet or computer instead of on paper. If you need to print on paper, make sure to use the “duplex” option and use both sides. The ideas are endless with paper reduction.
Finally, spread the word about trash reduction to organizations in your area. Help your workplace, school, or favorite business to create less trash and even earn (or save) money at the same time. For instance, schools or non-profits can raise extra money by asking families or supporters to recycle ink cartridges or special packaging (i.e. organizations like Funding Factory or Terracycle can help).
What other ideas do you have for reducing waste at home, work, or school? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!