Reduce Waste

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Just say ‘no’ to plastic and paper shopping bags

Leave the plastic vs. paper debate behind. Instead, take your own reusable bags to the store. Picture all the plastic bags you've seen as litter and, even worse, those that get into waterways and the oceans. If you forget your reusable bags and have to use a paper or plastic bag instead, be sure to reuse and recycle them.

Buy in bulk

Packaging makes up a third of all garbage tossed in the United States. To cut down on waste, avoid single-serving foods and beverages. Instead, buy items in bulk and portion them out into reusable containers. Both tips from National Geographic Society, Green Guide

Think before you toss

America is the queen of trash. Every day in the U.S., we produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building. We throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, produce enough Styrofoam cups annually to circle the earth 436 times and trash enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall form Los Angeles to New York City. We throw away 570 disposable diapers each second, and toss out enough aluminum cans to rebuild our commercial air fleet every three months. Each year we fill enough garbage trucks to stretch from Earth halfway to the moon (Source).

Recycle your cell phone

In the United States alone, 120 million cell phones are thrown away each year. Recycle your cell phone and the profits will be used to microfinance loans to the poor, not to mention saving the environment from harmful e-waste. One million cell phones recycled equals 350 trillion gallons of water saved from pollution and 100 thousand people helped.

Start a compost at home

IThe promise of spring is in the air! Composting is one active way to create a reciprocal relationship with the environment. Instead of sending your table scraps to the landfill, where the food decomposes in trash, you can let your apple cores and coffee grounds mature into rich compost, which then returns their nutrients back into the earth. Good for the garden, good for the planet. To find out more about how to compost click here.

Resolution: I will reduce my use of shopping bags

Reported statistics about plastic bags:

  • Plastic bags are made from oil. (Producing 14 plastic bags uses the same amount of oil as driving one mile.)
  • Just one percent of plastic bags are recycled.
  • Plastic bags significantly contribute to litter problems as they are lightweight and blow around easily.
  • Many plastic bags end up in our waterways, endangering wildlife and degrading water and soil quality.

Tips for REDUCING plastic bag use:

  • Don’t bag big items or items with handles like gallon milk jugs, cases of soda or large detergent bottles.
  • Avoid double bagging.
  • Always try to put one extra item in your bag.  If you are purchasing one or two items ask yourself, “Do I really need a bag?”

Item #1 on shopping list: REMEMBER BAGS

Using reusable shopping bags, instead of the free plastic bags at the store, is one of the easiest steps anyone can take to fight global warming, reduce our use of natural resources, and protect our waterways and wildlife.

Tips for remembering your reusable bags:

  • Store bags in your vehicle.
  • After you unpack your groceries, return the bags to your vehicle.
  • Store a bag in your desk at work.
  • Purchase a few compact reusable bags you can keep in your purse, jacket pocket, backpack or briefcase.
  • Ask the kids to remind you to bring your bags as part of earning their allowance.
  • Hang the bags next to the door.

Save resources, use a cloth bag:

  • Using a cloth bag when you go grocery shopping could save 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees per year, and cloth bags are reusable, sturdy and they’re free (Source).